Members of the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association are working towards a proposal to dissolve the organization that would lead to cash payouts for thousands of burley growers in Kentucky.
Under the proposal deal, the co-op would liquidate its investments and sell its property, which includes four million pounds of tobacco and the headquarters building located in Lexington, Kentucky. Lawyers working on the proposal said that at least $20 million would be available to growers after debts, costs and attorney fees have been settled.
The money would be distributed equally to the 3,200-3,500 growers who were members of the cooperative from the 2015 crop year through the 2019 year. If there is $20 million available and the final membership class is 3,200 growers, the cash payment would be $6,250 to each grower.
The proposal also will allocate $1.5 million towards a new organization that would advocate the interests of tobacco growers.
Fayette Circuit Judge Julie M. Goodman has been assigned to approve the settlement and has scheduled a hearing July 29 to clarify issues in the proposal. If approved, the payment would be doled out in several parts with the first check to be sent by the end of the year.