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February 24, 2010





Don McGough, (800) 342-1192




MACON, Ga. – Georgia tobacco producers are urged to vote in the referendum for the Georgia Tobacco Commission that runs from Feb. 24 to March 25, Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall recently announced. The referendum gives tobacco producers the opportunity to determine if they want to continue the 48-year-old commission.


Georgia tobacco producers have until March 25 to return their mail ballots. Ballots for the referendum were mailed to eligible growers in February. Any eligible tobacco grower who has misplaced the ballot mailed to them or who has not received a ballot may request one by calling the Georgia Department of Agriculture at 1-800-282-5852.


“The Georgia Tobacco Commission has served Georgia tobacco growers well for 48 years funding research, promotion and educational programs for the benefit of Georgia’s tobacco industry,” Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall said. “Georgia Farm Bureau encourages all tobacco producers to participate in this referendum and support the Commission so it can continue to work for Georgia tobacco growers.”


Under state law, Georgia tobacco producers must vote every three years to determine if they want to continue the Commission. In order for the Tobacco Commission to continue for another three years, 66 2/3 percent of tobacco growers who vote in the referendum must approve the commission.


The commission is comprised of five grower members - Chairman Fred Wetherington of Lowndes County, Daryl Metts of Coffee County, Paul Folsom of Lanier County, Daniel Johnson of Pierce County and Ricky Tucker of Berrien County – and ex officio members Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin and Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall.


“During these critical times that our industry is facing, it is more important than ever to have grower support for our on-going tobacco research and education programs,” Wetherington said. “We must ensure that Georgia’s tobacco quality and yields stay competitive with other growing regions.”


The commission has funded research that includes the testing of flue-cured seed varieties, sucker control trials, black shank and nematode management, and multiple on-farm tests of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides. The commission’s main research objective continues to be researching production practices and treatments that will reduce symptoms of Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus.


For more information about commission activities call 229-386-3468.