Rep. Ernie Fletcher, R-Ky., wrote the bill with North Carolina Democratic Reps. Mike McIntyre and Bob Etheridge and Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va.

The bill is expected to go through the House Agriculture Committee. Tobacco-state senators have endorsed a tobacco buyout bill. That bill would pay growers about $2 billion less than the House version.

The House bill would pay quota owners $8 per pound on the average amount of tobacco they grew between 1997 and 2001. Renters would get $4 per pound. The payments would occur over seven years.

Both the House and Senate bills require cigarette manufacturers to pay for the buyout. Philip Morris is the only major cigarette manufacturer to support the idea that the companies pay for the buyout.

e-mail: cyancy@primediabusiness.com