Farmers say buyout has made Stabilization redundant
A group of farmers in North Carolina have filed suit against the Flue-Cured Tobacco Cooperative Stabilization Corp. The farmers argue that the cooperative is no longer needed because of the tobacco quota buyout. The cooperative insists that it continues to fulfill a need, particularly for those farmers who do not have or do not want sales contracts with cigarette makers.
In a statement, the cooperative said termination of the tobacco program makes Stabilization more important than ever, by virtue of its ability to provide members, particularly those without contracts, an opportunity to continue to grow and market flue-cured tobacco.
In July, the cooperative paid $26 million for a former Liggett Vector leaf-processing and cigarette-making plant in North Carolina. The cooperative plans to process leaf and manufacture cigarettes. It recently signed a contract with New Century Tobacco Group to distribute its cigarettes.