Lewis Tobacco Settlement Payments Expected in July 2023
— Written By Mitch Smith (2 weeks ago)en Español
Last fall, the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service (Pitt County Center) alerted county tobacco farmers, heirs, and former quota holders of an approved plan for the former flue-cured tobacco cooperative (Flue-Cured Tobacco Cooperative Stabilization Corporation) to return an estimated $70 million to former quota holders, or their heirs, over a 12-year period. This dispersal of funds was part of a ruling by a bankruptcy judge that a lump sum begin to be dispersed in 2023 to former quota holders who farmed under the tobacco price support program. Such payments will continue to be made to qualified applicants based on the continued operation of U.S. Tobacco Cooperative Inc. during this designated period.
It has been reported by Omni Agent Solutions that approximately 18,000 claims have been received from former quota holders, or their heirs to be considered for the distribution of these funds. Of this total, Pitt County accounts for about 10% or 1,800 of those claims. Funds could begin to be dispersed in July of this year. Note: Those who have already submitted a claim should call 1-818-906-8300 to verify that their claims form has been received.
Although the former deadline to submit a claims application was December 12, 2022, former quota holders or their heirs may still submit an application for consideration by July 10, 2023. Application requires providing the “FC Number” or information sufficient to prove that they (or their spouse) marketed tobacco during the years of 1967 to 1973 or 1982 to 2004. Claims which are submitted in 2023 should be addressed to the “Trustee of the Bankrupcy Court” and mailed to the Lewis Settlement Class Trust Claims Processing where eligibility will be determined. Reasons should be provided why the previous claims deadline was not met.
At this time, the formula that outlines how the funds will be dispersed has not been determined. To be eligible for payment consideration, the former quota holder must have been a seller of tobacco and have had issued a FC Number. Landowners or share cropper may not necessarily qualify to participate in this settlement.
Please visit the Omni Solutions Website for more information.
TIPS FOR SUBMITTING A CLAIMS FORM
- Former quota holders or their heirs can access the website for this claim by visiting Omni Agent Solutions Cases Website. Once you go to this website, type “lewis” in the search box in order to access the “Lewis Certified Settlement Class Trust” and the claims form.
- If you have questions, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions document on the website. For anything not addressed, you may either call the claims information line, 1-818-906-8300 (US & Canada toll free), or email the claims agent at email@example.com.
- Claims forms can be submitted either as paper copies or electronically via the website.
- In order to prove the claim, submit copies of documents that establish the Flue-Cured Cooperative membership such as a membership card, stock certificate, or documents that establish the mailing address of the grower member at the time of membership. If you marketed tobacco from 2000-2004 by direct contracting of tobacco, submit documents that establish pounds marketed during any of those years.
- If you do not know the FC number, list the mailing address on the form of the grower member at the time of membership. Old tobacco sales bills may have the FC number listed on the upper left hand section of the bill.
- If you are not the original holder of the class member claim, you must provide all documentation showing that you are the legal holder of this claim, such as notarized, executive assignment documents (letter of testamentary) or a probated will.
- For the production years of 2000-2004, proof of sales of tobacco must be provided such as sales/consignment receipts, farm ledgers created at the time of sale, or consignment showing pounds marketed to establish the sales.
- Only one claim form can be submitted for a flue-cured member number.
- For producers who lack documentation of production from 2000 through 2004, the following chart might be used to calculate production values for this period. The estimated production per year is 2,100 pounds per acre.
|Average Price per Pound