NC Tobacco Payments total more than $300 Million

More than 317 million dollars is coming to tobacco quota owners, producers, and other contract holders in North Carolina.

The money represents annual payments from the federal buyout of the price-support system that took effect in 2005.

With the nearly ten-(b)-billion-dollar buyout, the federal government ended decades of leaf production under a quota system that kept prices artificially high.

Payment recipients now decide for themselves how much tobacco to grow and whether to enter into individual contracts with cigarette companies.

The payments, which will come annually through 2014, are to assist in the transition to the open market.

Nationally, annual payments that began last month will total 950

North Carolina is the nation's top tobacco-producing state.