Senator Mitch McConnell helped secure the historic tobacco buyout that was worth approximately $2.5 billion to Kentucky. This buyout helped transition tobacco to the free market and off federal farm price support for tobacco in exchange for $9.6 billion in compensation paid to tobacco quota owners over 10 years.
US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that tobacco buyout payments would be subjected to a 7.2% sequestration in the final year of tobacco buyout payments.
Steps taken by Senator McConnell:
Senator McConnell contacted USDA Secretary Vilsack and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell identifying a provision within the Budget Control Act that would allow quota holders to receive full payment.
Former president of Kentucky Farm Bureau Sam Moore said of McConnell’s role in tobacco buyout, “I don’t think there’s anybody that could have gotten that done except him… I think he used every bit of knowledge he had in the way the system worked to accomplish that. He ran into several roadblocks, but stayed with it until he got it done.”
Mark Haney, President of Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, said in May 2013, “Kentucky Farm Bureau appreciates your [Senator McConnell's] leadership and diligence in leading the efforts to defeat the McCain/Feinstein Senate Amendment 923 during yesterday’s farm bill debate that would have made tobacco ineligible for crop insurance assistance…Again, we appreciate your recognition of the importance of tobacco production and your continued support of Kentucky agriculture.”
Roger Quarles, current President and Chairman of the U.S. Growers Tobacco Company and former president of the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative, praised Senator McConnell for his work to secure the full payments for Kentucky tobacco growers. "Senator McConnell has once again proven to be one of the strongest allies for tobacco and agriculture in Washington,” Quarles said. “Senator McConnell has ensured that the tobacco buyout, of which he championed ten years ago, is seen through all the way. Farm families from Florida to Virginia and as far west as Missouri are elated to look forward to payment in full for the last of the payments as promised 10 years ago. And particularly Kentucky farmers and tobacco growers are most thankful."