Checks in the Mail for Georgia Tobacco Growers

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Georgia tobacco growers and quota holders are checking their mailboxes this week now that tobacco settlement payments are on the way.

Georgia tobacco grower and Quota holder Gene Hickey says, "It came today. I said, wow, it helps. It's nice."

Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue says after a year of court proceedings, the much needed checks are on their way to Peach State farmers. Tobacco growers and Quota holders say the funds are needed now that Quotas, a federal program regulating tobacco selling prices, ended in 2004.

Thomas County Extension Coordinator Don Clark says, "This is the first year without the support price, so as a result, farmers sold their crop at a lower price."

It’s a lower price that now has growers thankful for their piece of the tobacco settlement money.

Gene Hickey adds, "We just got a portion of it, and it helps offset the loss of our Quota pounds."

The state says approximately $25 million in phase two payments will be delivered to growers and Quota holders in the coming days.

The tobacco settlement payments are a result of the master 1998 settlement agreement signed by 46 states and the nation's four largest tobacco companies.