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Tobacco growers to vote on research assessment Nov. 19

North Carolina tobacco growers will vote Nov. 19 on whether to continue their self-assessment to support tobacco research and education. The assessment is 10 cents per 100 pounds of flue-cured and burley tobacco sold.

Ballots will be available for tobacco growers at county extension offices on Nov. 19. Information about polling locations and times is available at N.C. Cooperative Extension offices. The Bladen County Extension office is located at 450 Smith Circle Drive in Elizabethtown. The phone number is (910) 862-4591.

Started in 1991, the tobacco research checkoff program has allocated about $300,000 annually to support tobacco-related research and extension projects at N.C. State University. State law requires that a referendum be held every six years.

Funds from the self-assessment are allocated by the N.C. Tobacco Research Commission, whose membership includes the commissioner of agriculture, presidents of the N.C. Farm Bureau Federation, N.C. State Grange and Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina, and the president of the N.C. Tobacco Foundation.

“Federal funding for tobacco research ceased in 1994, and state support has declined in recent years due to state budget reductions,” said Keith Oakley, president of the N.C. Tobacco Foundation and state checkoff coordinator. “These factors led to the creation of this self-assessment program.”

To pass, the assessment needs a two-thirds majority of votes. The assessment would be in effect from January 2016 through December 2021.

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