Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Tobacco Farmers Won't Get Billion Dollar Buyout

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, I was SLAGPP* when I read that the tobacka farmers ain't gonna get the million bucks a-piece that they been tryin' t' blackmail outta the Canajun taxpayer. Ol' Chuck Strahl put the kibosh on the dumbass plan t' give away a pile o' dough t' the richest farmers in Canada. There's food farmers who's hurtin' an' I got nuthin' but respect fer 'em. Tobacka farmers is anuther story an' I already wrote about 'em an' posted up a song, too.

He told delegates that the board was seeking nearly $1 billion for 600 growers. Strahl said the proposal was a non-starter for his political colleagues in Ottawa and Queen’s Park and for other farmers in other sectors.“I just don’t think I can sell it politically and I think…I guess I’m encouraging the discussion to switch from that kind of package to something that is more doable and I’m just being blunt and honest, folks,” Strahl said during a question-and-answer forum.

"I just don’t think I can sell it. I can’t sell it in the cabinet, and I don’t think I can sell it in the greater ag community.”

I live in tobacka country. Other than the tobacka farmers themselves, I ain't ever heard a single person who sez they think this here buyout was a good idea.

Now, they're all gonna climb inta their air-conditioned, deluxe $200,000 tractors an' drive in big circles 'round Diane Finley's office. MPP Toby Barrett's been one o' their bigass champeens so maybe he'll be drivin' his ol' John Deere, too. I reckon Ontariariario's the last bet fer the money-grubbin' growers but now that the feds has shut 'em out, Ginty'll have a good excuse to kill the buyout idea an' no good excuse t' keep it.


*SLAGPP: Smilin' Like A Girl Pig Peein'


Anonymous said...

Sounds like good news, so long as they're as rich as you make them out to be - and it isn't the banks who own everything.

Anonymous said...


My back still aches when I hear that word.

Just reading about new anti-smoking/tobacco legislation out here on the Wet Coast.

B.C. launches all-out war on tobacco

"Tough anti-smoking legislation introduced Tuesday is aimed at making tobacco products invisible in B.C. stores by next Jan. 1 and available only by request.

The new law will also ban smoking in all indoor public places and on school grounds.


The ban on the display of tobacco products will also cover lighters, caps with tobacco brands, ads, self-serve displays and outdoor signs.

The tactic is part of a sweeping plan to counter the use of tobacco, blamed for $2.3 billion a year in health-care costs and the deaths of 6,000 British Columbians each year.

B.C. is already suing several tobacco companies, seeking financial compensation for health-care costs.


The government wants the tobacco ban in schools and on school grounds in place by September.

The ban on smoking in all indoor public spaces, as well as near public doorways, air intakes and windows, will be introduced next year, along with a ban on tobacco sales at public hospitals and health facilities, public universities and colleges, public recreational facilities and provincial buildings.

Abbott promised consultation on regulations for where smoking can occur, but added: "There won't be any backing down from this." Penalties for violating the retail controls on tobacco will be drafted soon, he said."

Saskboy said...

SK helped win the legal fight to get tobacco out of sight - and out of mind.

Rosie said...

Its great news. The knowledge of the dangers of tobacco smoking has been around for long enough that the farmers have had time to adapt if they were "progressive" enough. Forsight makes you survive. The way I see it, is that you keep holding on to a harmful technologies (ie. oilsands) without adaptation for changing times, there will come a time when your product is obsolete. Tobacco is going that way. Now, lets hope we can start putting the same restrictions on fast food advertizing towards children and public! That way its still available, but not to an extent that hooks an entire generation. It is completely beyond my comprehension how tobacco companies would think they could keep up the sales of a deadly poisonous product knowing it kills the people who use it. Good riddance.

I don't have an ounce of sympathy for someone living the high life on credit. People who live beyond their means are playing with fire.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! Thankee all fer chimin' in. Funny thing... in the newspaper write-up last night, they blamed the demise of the tobacka industry on "government anti-smoking policies and illegal sales(of bootleg cigarettes)."

They didn't mention the fact that industry might be sufferin' on accounta cigarettes cause cancer an' fewer people are buyin' 'em these days an' any fool could seen the end comin' fer at least 30 years.

Folks 'round here figger the only reason this dumbass buyout idea got pushed along as fer as it did is on accounta the tobacka farmers got enough dough t' pay lawyers an' lobbyists t' plug their cause. The latest thing is they're cryin' the collapse o' the tobacka industry'll mean big bad spin-off troublems all over Norfolk County an' property values'll drop. Horsepuckey, sez I.


Anonymous said...

Dirt can grow more than just one cash crop typically, especially dirt with irrigation systems. It's typical for an industry to sink money into protecting itself from inevitable changes, rather than investing in the next market phase.

Farmers have to live beyond their means on credit, because there's no other way to have the equipment needed, unless you start out with a fortune, or a family farm already modernly equipped.

Dan said...

They should all become hemp farmers. Hemp, for, you know, making rope...

Anonymous said...

I agree, if the soil likes one drug, maybe it'll like another - not that hemp is a narcotic so long as they have the right seeds.

JimBobby said...

Whooee! There's a blue-jillion crops that'll grow here. We can't really grow bananas but the north shore o' Lake Erie is referred to as Canada's Banana Belt. The soil's a fine, rich, sandy loam in Norfolk, Oxford and Elgin Counties an' it'll grow a lot o' crops that won't grow in colder place with worse soil.

Peaches, plums, apples, ginseng, peanuts, echinacea an' a whole lot more. Stuff like corn, wheat, rye, soybeans that other farmers grow'll grow just fine, too. The farmers don't wanna grow them things fer one reason an' one reason only -- they can't make the same kinda bigass profits that they been makin' fer generations on tobacka.

There was a letter t' the editor in the local rag a coupla weeks ago where the feller made a serious pitch that they should grow opium poppies fer the legal pharma market.

Legal smoke-grade hemp would be a good alternative. They won't even consider anything that don't keep these fatcats rollin' in dough. They'd rather sing the blues an' blame gummint fer their troublems than try growin' sumpin' that'd give a worse return than their poison tobacka.

The other day, over in Simcoe where Diane Finley has her office, they parked their tractors on Highway #3 an' blocked traffic. There's a little shoppin' plaza there an' the bigass tobacka farmers in their bigass $200,000 tractors blockaded customers from goin' t' that little plaza an' the fellers an' gals runnin' their little biznesses lost all their profits fer the whole day.

Tobacka farmers'd rather watch their land grow weeds than plant a crop that don't make 'em millions. An' when they stop other fellers an' gals from conductin' bizness, they prove they're only lookin' out fer their own greedy selves.


Anonymous said...

A fresh perspective on this...I come from a tobacco family, and we were never what you would call rich. My family was just trying to make a living and pay off the mortgage to own the family farm. Sure there are rich tobacco farmers out there, just like there are rich vegetable farmers, dairy farmers etc. To group 600 families together as rich is stupid. In our case, my parents worked for 30 years to pay off the mortgage on the farm, so that we as children could enjoy living in the country. The year that the mortgage was paid off, the government decided that all tobacco farmers needed to switch their kilns to heat exchangers rather than regular gas burners like they had for years. Fine and dandy, but it would cost over $10,000 per kiln to make the conversion. That is over $100,000 on a 10 kiln farm (which ours was). We were also such a small farming operation, that we still used the old methods of tying tobacco, not the automated way it is done now. It seemed stupid to convert kilns that we 50 years old. Without having a crystal ball to see the future, my parents had to make a decision...sell the farm or convert and pray that the funding from the government to help pay for it came through. You can guess what happened. We went almost half a million dollars in debt to pay for upgrades that we didn't want to do. 5 years later, our crop size was down from 50 acres to 30, prices were down and we were operating at a $20,000 loss per year. Rich tobacco farmers? Not US!

No banks will loan money to convert to another crop, which my parents don't have the knowledge, training or equipment to grow. Talk about stress.

My parents separated last year, as the strain was too much. We have already lost our family, and now we are about to lose our farm too, as we operated at such a loss last year that there is no money to pay the mortgage. A farm that has been family owned for generations is going to be forced to sell, and my children will not be able to roam carefree as I did as a child.

Yep, my family is rich all right. Thanks for classing us together with a select few. Hope you have the opportunity to be as rich as we are someday.
Shannon VanDeByl
Windham Centre ONTARIO

Anonymous said...

Also, please keep in mind that tobacco farmers are not tobacco companies, and we don't see the profits that a tobacco company does. Of every pack of cigarettes sold, farmers see almost 2%, the federal government sees 38%, the provincial government sees 36%, tobacco companies receive 17% and retailers receive 7%. I think that the government can afford to give some of the 9 BILLION they receive from cigarette taxes alone back to the that they can try to find another way to make a living.

People who choose to smoke are going to smoke whether it is Canadian tobacco or not. At least we have been keeping the dollars spent in the Canadian economy....can't wait to see what the effects of 500 farms filing for bankrupcy will do to the economy around here. There are 2 sides to every story.


JimBobby said...

ShannonGal, thankee fer chimin' in an givin' anuther side t' the story.

I wanna make sure I understand what yers sayin'.

Yer parents bought a farm an' grew tobacka profittably fer at least 30 years an' they paid off the mortgage on the farm. Farms an' houses an' barns an' acreages all have a pretty high value in Norfolk, so if they worked hard an' paid off that mortgage an' owned that farm free an' clear, then good fer them. They got a good net worth an' the statistics tell u sthat tobacka farmers' net worth is 150% the net worth of Canajun farmers on average. It ain't a select few if it's the average.

You didn't say long ago it was that yer parents decided to invest that $100,000 into upgradin' their kilns. I could be wrong but I suspect it was a few years ago an' they paid off that investment since that time.

When a bizness person sees that their bizness may be goin' downhill, they need t' take action. I useta be in the construction bizness an' one o' my specialties was installin' wall-to-wall carpet. I bought a lot o' tools an' trained an' had a crew o' men workin' fer me. Well Shannon, danged if the bottom fell out on the carpet game when everybuddy decided they was gonna quit with the wall-to-wall stuff an' put in hardwood floors an' ceramic tile. What I did back then was learn how t' give the customer what they wanted an' teach my men an' buy the tools an' source out the suppliers an' bid on the contracts an' keep makin' money.

All this blamin' anti-smokin' policies an' the Indians ain't washin' with too many people. Tobacka farmers is always blamin' gummint but you never hear a dang word about the healthcare problems created by tobacka. Fewer Canajun is smokin'. Cigarettes cause cancer. We've known that fer decades an' even though they knew the crop was goin' downhill, some farmers kept on investin'. Spendin' an' borrowin' is a bizness decision an' if yer borrowin' against a crop that people are quittin', yer gamblin' an' you just might lose.

The investments paid off when plenty o' farmers paid off the mortgages on plenty o' tobacka farms. There's hardworkin' taxpayin' fellers an' gals goin' t' work at the Co-op or the IGA everyday fer 30 years an' more an' they ain't got a mortgage paid off on a little wee house in town. Now, it looks like short-sighted tobacka farmers who couldn't see the writin' on the wall fer the past 30 or 40 years want the gummint to pay 'em fer stickin' with the crop til they went broke.

I'll believe 500 tobacka farmers are gonna go bankrupt without a gummint buyout when I see it.

Back in the 50's an' 60's, there were about 5 or 6 times as many tobacka growers as there are now. The market place couldn't support all them farmers an' some started leavin' the tobacka industry early. Other ones stayed and bought quota an' prospered up until quite recently.

It's like shoes. We used t' have a buncha shoe factories in Canada an' North America. Now, pretty much every shoe comes from China. Did the shoemakers get a billion bucks from Ottawa?

Anybuddy who needs t' make a big adjustment due t' changin' market conditions has got my sympathy. I'm sorry t' hear that the demise of the tobacka industry has placed so much stress on yer family, Shannon.

I know folks who got wiped out when they had their retirement money all tied up in Nortel. Nobody forced them to buy the stock an' they were happy when they were makin' money.

Bizness an' the market place ain't always fair but that's the gamble bizness people take. I been self-employed since 1975 so I ain't just talkin' though my hat.


Anonymous said...

The rich tobacco farmers...ah, yes, how wealthy we are! I will admit that some farmers did extremely well, but for the majority of tobacco farmers, they are average people trying to make a decent living. I didn't realize that it is so selfish to make a living doing what you like to do. Many farmers don't have a choice; either continue growing tobacco or lose your farm. Gee, what would you do in their shoes?? "I'll just declare bankruptcy, lose the farm and go on welfare." Of course, they would reinvest money in their farm to keep it! DUH! Nobody is asking 'THE GOVERNMENT' for a free handout! Check out the Ontario Flue-Cured Tobacco Marketing board website to make yourselves more knowledgeable on the subject. They are proposing a levy on a pack of cigarettes that would ultimately fund a buyout...thereby not costing the taxpayers one friggin' red cent! As for growing of tobacco and the 'smoke-free' society that our government is seeking...declare an all out tobacco ban (illegal!)and there will never be another cigarette manufactured or smoked in Canada. Why don't they do that?? Seems easiest to me...maybe it's the ten billion tax dollars our greedy government doesn't want to lose!
My husband grows tobacco on the family farm since 2000. It's what he's wanted to do since he could remember. And yes, he has and will continue to grow other cash crops, such as rye and soybeans. Believe me, if growing rye and soybeans generated enough income to pay our mortgage payments (which are quite high!), he wouldn't blink an eye about growing tobacco. However, in reality, you won't make a living and pay for a farm growing cash crops, not to mention flooding the market (Ex. cucumbers!) Common sense and logic, people! GET SOME! (By the way, I am ashamed of the people in Norfolk county!) Ah, I must return to counting my stacks of money....what am I going to buy today??

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's a terrible thing to see farmers actually making money. I mean, it's not like the government or the tobacco companies have a vested interest in wedging farmers out of a profitable business... Oh, wait.

I guess market control isn't something you've ever heard of, JimmmyDud. When's the last time you visited a dairy operation, or a egg operation, a chicken farm? Do you know what the quotas are worth? Upwards of 130 per bird. Simple math.

The Canadian government, being dedicated to removing ag trade barriers, has it's ag marketing boards in a pickle. You want to hear howls, wait until the egg-dairy-poultry quota systems are investigated, if they ever are. "Our food chain, at risk! Save my million dollar chicken factory! I don't dock my birds' beaks, promise. They get to see outside from the side of a shipping crate, ain't that enough free range?"

Nanticoke, Nanticoke... Cancer, coal fired, pollution, Ontario Hydro (that ever been propped up with taxpayer money?)... Hmmm, too easy, JimmyDud, too easy.

Anonymous said...

The government has launched a war on a legal product, raising taxes, removing advertising, banning smoking even in places that wisbh to smoke, sueing companies for billions and forcing them to cut back or leave the country.

So why some say smoking is bad and tobacco is bad for your health it still is and has been a legal product which the very same government that fights it makes billions off every single year.

Other sectors in agriculture also are struggling for sure but no other sector has been met with government policies to ruin there legal product like tobacco. If tobacco was as bad as they say it is and the government really wanted smoking banned then why didnt they just ban it 100% when they started this so called war on tobacco? Its simple, they are making billions a year off it so all they had to do was shut up the lobbiests and destroy farmers and tobacco companies but just enough so they could still make there billions.

Its very simple really, tobacco is a legal product and the government has been waging this so called war on tobacco for a long long time. So in my opinion its only right and natural to compensate the farmers for ruining there legal trade and putting them in debts hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Smoking is bad for you sure, smoking very well could or should be banned 100% in Canada, sure but so long as the government of canada does not ban it outright and so long as the canadian government continues to make billions off the very thing they say they want stopped and go to war against then there is no question tobacco farmers who have met the brunt of there so called war should be compensated.

I hope that makes sense to you who do not understand why tobacco farmers seek compensation and why they deserver it. It is against the law to slander legal companies, ag sectors, businesses or anything in Canada and destroy there way of life however bad you may see the product to be the product is legal so if you ruin a legal product and destory a persons way of life then its only right that the government which destroyed it and still makes billions off it to be compensated.

Anonymous said...

For thosethat say switch to other crops its just not as easy as it sounds.

Most if not all tobacco farmers are in debt hundreds of thousands of dollars. still paying for their tractors, still paying for those heat exchange burners the government frorced them to install on their kilns, still paying for their prime machines, bin kilns and still paying the massive debts the government has thrown down on us due to their war on tobacco (legal product)

So you see the land is there ofcourse but lets say for example your 200-1million in debt, what bank is going to lend you money to start a crop which will require you buy more big money equipment and quota or anything else the new crop requires?

Its not as easy as just flippin a switch and saying ah screw tobacco we are going to grow corn instead or veggies instead or hemp instead because when your half a million in debt or whatever the only thing you are able to do is try to sell your farm or have it taken by the bank

So this is why you do not see farmers shrugging this all off and just moving to different crops

JimBobby said...

Why is it that tobacco farmers never mention the cost of smoking to our healthcare and general economy? Every proponent of the buyout mentions the taxes collected but no one ever talks about what that money is spent on.


"They estimate that, in Canada, the societal costs attributable to smoking for 1993 were approximately $11 billion, of which $3 billion was spent on direct health care costs such as hospitalization and physician time. The remaining $8 billion was due to lost productivity. In comparison, it is estimated that in 1993/94, revenue from taxes on cigarettes totalled $2.6 billion."


The Canadian taxpayer is on the losing end. We collect only about 25% of the money needed to treat the victims of your legal crop.

Whiskey and alcohol are harmful, destroy health and destroy lives... legally.

Various jurisdictions experimented with making alcohol illegal during the prohibition era of the 1920's. The result was a massive increase in organized crime and violence. We're not smart enough to legalize marijuana but we're too smart to criminalize tobacco.

The writing's been on the wall since the 1960's when the US Surgeon General came down with the definitive report linking cigarette smoking to cancer. Continued investment in the crop was a crapshoot for over 40 years.


Anonymous said...

Do not blame tobacco farmers for health care issues or why tobacco is legal or not because tobacco farmers have no say in making it illegal, they have no say in what tobacco companies mix with the tobacco and they have no say in who smokes or not.

If you want to point the finger at someone for health costs point them at the government or Canada and the tobacco companies who both have got filthy stinken rich off a product the government says is bad for you.

You say the writing has been on the wall for 40 years but it wasnt 10 years ago the canadian government was asking farmers to put in special burners which cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and revert to new chemicals in an attempt to keep tobacco strong. The government of Canada has made not billions but zillions and zillions of dollars off tobacco and in recent times has also sued tobacco companies for billions and billions of dollars to cover the health care costs of sick people due to smoking. The Canadian government does not want tobacco to be banned because it makes to much money off it so what they simply do is please the health lobbiests by banning smoking from public places, banning advertising, putting warning labels on the packs and telling the public smoking is very very bad for you which in the end hits the companies and then on down to the farmers but it never hurts the government because if they see a drop in cig sales they raise the taxes on cigs just to make sure their pockets continue to get filled with cash on what they say is a deadly product.

The fact of the matter is tobacco is legal and has been from the beginning, if the government continues to make money off the so called deadly product and does not ban it outright then they have absolutely no right to slander the people that grow the tobacco itself and destory their way of life simply because they can continue to make money with or without Canadian tobacco farmers by importing tobacco from overseas.

Id also like to mention you are wrong that tobacco farmers want your tax money, what they want is the buyout to be generated by cig sale taxes, it is the government which put this legal sector out of business and it is the government that continues to rake in money off the product they call deadly.

And yes whickey and booze, potatoe chips and just about everything you put in your body these days is a legal product that could kill you in the long run, but the government does not slander and destroy those products YET, however you can bet your ass that at some point in your life time you will see alcohol meet the same fate as tobacco and then it will be on to fat foods and so on and so on.

Its a drive for the perfect world run by money hungry rabbid wolves which trick and decieve you into thinking things are bad without actually stopping sales and filling their wide pockets.

It is right that tobacco farmers should be bought out, the government has ruined there legal business and like any other business they should and will be compensated for it. Say you were a mechanic and owned your own shop and the canadian government put signs outfront your shop everyday saying your the biggest bum pos mechanic in ontario and forced you to keep the sign infront of your property, woudl to take it to court and demand to be compensated by the government because they slandered your good name and business and created a debt you could not clear which resulted in your business being lost? Ofcourse you would!

Actually as I type this the rumor is the Conservatives have signed papers this week and may announce the buyout very shortly, but thats just rumor.

Jimmy you seem to be angry at the wrong people and lack the understanding of what is and has happened to date in this sector

My adivse to you is educate yourself a little better on this subject before you type out your ill advised messages

And who knows maybe they will legalize the weed and get your wish of smoking dope in the open instead of sitting on your computer chair typing out absurd uneducated comments

joeblow said...

JimBobby must be dumber than he appears

set the record straight said...

I may be as ignorant as JimBobby seems to be regarding tobacco farmers but my husband's family has been in it for 30 years. They were immigrants who put all their blood and sweat into creating a living from nothing. They put their heart and sole into it and to ask them to just forget all the equipment you have broken your back to pay for, you have to get into a new crop is asking too much. We have been trying to rack our brains for years as to what crop to get into but there is no crop that the equipment can be used for. It would be starting all over again. The money the farmers are asking for includes the amount of money they paid for the quota in the first place. The market has not dropped solely due to people not smoking, the companies are now just buying it from other countries that have no labour laws and they can buy it much cheaper. Don't be fooled by alot of propaganda. I know very little about tobacco but I have can see why you would keep trying to make a living from something that you have invested your life to and there is still a great demand. People heard that smoking was bad for you but no one took it seriously in the early years. It took a long time for people to take it seriously so don't tell me that we all knew since 1960.

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