Press Releases

Sen. Warner Applauds Decision to Exempt Tobacco Payments from Harmful Sequestration Cuts

~ USDA responds to Warner concerns over effect of cuts to final TTPP payment on Virginia small farmers ~

Jan 07 2014

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) applauded today’s decision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to exempt the final Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP) payment from across-the-board sequestration spending cuts. Sen. Warner wrote USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack in November expressing his concern that cuts to TTPP payments, which are not funded by taxpayers, would be harmful to Virginia’s small farmers.

“I am pleased that, at our suggestion, USDA has decided not to cut the TTPP payment promised to nearly 31,000 Virginia tobacco growers, financial institutions, and businesses,” Sen. Warner said. “TTPP is funded by industry fees, not tax dollars, so it shouldn’t have been subject to sequestration cuts in the first place.”

TTPP installments were established in 2004 following legislation that ended federal tobacco price support loan programs. They are funded by fees paid by tobacco manufacturers and importers. Many small tobacco farmers elected to receive their payment in annual installments, and although the program is not funded by the federal government, the final 2014 payment could have been reduced by approximately 5% due to sequestration cuts.

A copy of Sen. Warner’s letter to the USDA is available here