USDA Announces Penalty Rates on Excess Tobacco Marketings: On May 21st, 1998, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that penalty rates will be charged producers, dealers, and warehouse operators for marketing excess tobacco during the 1998-1999 marketing year. Section 314 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, as amended, requires that USDA collect these assessments. The "penalty" rate is 75 percent of the average market price for that kind of tobacco for the previous marketing year. This law applies to every kind of tobacco subject to marketing quotas. When the average market prices for each kind of tobacco are determined and announced, the penalty rates are then calculated.
USDA Announces Participation in Flue-Cured Bale Program Beginning in 1998: On April 27th, 1998, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that it will participate in an experimental packaging method for marketing flue-cured tobacco during the 1998 marketing season. Dr. Enrique Figueroa, Administrator of USDAs Agricultural Marketing Service, said that during the past three years, significant research has been conducted on marketing flue-cured tobacco in bales. The Flue-Cured Tobacco Advisory Committee met in Raleigh, N.C. on February 26th to review and to consider alternative experimental packaging methods for marketing flue-cured tobacco. The Committee passed a motion to allow growers to market flue-cured tobacco in bales without volume restrictions during the 1998 marketing season. The 39-member committee, established by the Secretary of Agriculture, provides information essential to the orderly marketing of flue-cured tobacco.