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Unclaimed Kentucky tobacco checks set to expire by June 20
By TIM THORNBERRY
Kentucky Correspondent

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The last Kentucky Phase II payments were sent out in June 2005 following a court battle between growers and a North Carolina business court that halted the payments due to the passage of tobacco buyout legislation.

As of January, more than 3,700 of those 164,000 checks had still not been delivered due to several reasons including no forwarding address left; expired forwarding address; the recipient is deceased; recipient not known and P.O. Box was closed. In the past month hundreds of checks have been claimed but still there remain approximately 2,400.

An updated list of those checks was made available last week by the Governor’s Office of Agricultural Policy (GOAP), which has traditionally helped to distribute Phase II monies.

The list is sorted by the last name within the county in which the farm was registered according to USDA Farm Service Agency. In addition to the name of the recipient, the list also contains the claimant ID number, farm number, and check number.

If not claimed by June 20, those checks will expire leaving potential recipients without their final payment.

Phase II money had been worth about $124 million annually to state growers since a 1999 agreement between 14 tobacco producing states and the top four cigarette companies to compensate those states for losses stemming from the industry’s 1998 Master Settlement Agreement.

The list of those undelivered checks can be found on the GOAP website.

GOAP urges anyone locating his or her name as a certified recipient, should contact the call center toll-free at 1-877-549-2537.

The representative taking calls will verify some personal information, and then collect the correct mailing address information in order to mail the check.

This farm news was published in the February 8, 2006 issue of Farm World.

2/8/2006