North Carolina growers of flue-cured tobacco have approved an assessment that will support the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina’s efforts to promote the interests of its farmers.

The assessment was approved on 88 percent of ballots in a mail-in referendum.  Two-thirds majority was needed for approval, according to a news release from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Growers approved an assessment of up to 15 cents per hundred pounds of flue-cured tobacco sold in North Carolina. However, the initial assessment will be 10 cents per hundred pounds. It takes effect this year and will be collected when farmers sell their tobacco.

Tobacco buyers will submit collected funds to the  North Carolna. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for distribution to the association.

“Until now, tobacco was one of the few commodities in our state that didn’t have a checkoff program to support its work,” said North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

TGANC President Tim Yarbrough of Caswell County said, “The margin of support for this effort indicates the level of priority our farmers place on having a strong and organized voice to advocate on important issues.”

The General Assembly passed a bill last year authorizing the association to conduct the referendum.

This assessment joins existing checkoff programs supporting tobacco research and export promotion.