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    U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company donates $35,000 for student scholarships

    U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company donates $35,000 for student scholarships

    According to a 2008 study by the United States Department of Agriculture, Kentucky is the number one state in the nation in Dark Fired Tobacco production and Calloway County is the number one county producer in Kentucky producing over eight million pounds of the crop each year. Additionally, Graves County is the number two county and other regional counties contribute significantly to the production of this crop.

    Dark Fired Tobacco commonly appears in the form of smokeless tobacco and is a major industry in Western Kentucky. Many families in the Purchase and Pennyrile counties of Kentucky continue to grow this crop and many producers are Alumni of Murray State University (MSU) and family members regularly enroll in MSU.

    Because of the continued growth of the Hutson School of Agriculture at MSU and the quality of education these students receive, Altria Client Services on behalf of U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company (USSTC) has recently donated $35,000 to fund scholarships for the Hutson School of Agriculture.

    USSTC has chosen to fund this scholarship at Murray because of the University’s prime location in the geographical center of the stakeholders and producers of dark tobacco and is the educational institution of choice among many young adult tobacco producers.

    Applicants for this scholarship and/or their immediate family must be actively and currently growing dark fired or dark air cured tobacco. Actively and currently means hands-on involvement in the tobacco crop. Scholarship recipients will be selected based on their academic qualifications, work and/or agriculture experience, leadership activities, honors or awards and financial need.
    USSTC is vitally interested in the access to, and quality of, education offered to students and specifically students who produce dark tobacco.

    Newton Kalengamaliro, manager of Agricultural Programs for Altria Client Services said, “The Altria family of companies has a long history of providing support for programs that have helped strengthen and advance the field of agriculture. As the agriculture industry continues to evolve, USSTC believes it is important to invest in those programs and initiatives that will help the next generation of agriculture leaders effectively address future needs and build long-term sustainability in the field.”

    Tony Brannon, dean of the Hutson School of Agriculture, said the scholarship has been a true help to many families in the region who produce Dark Fired Tobacco and rely on the income from this crop to support their families.

    “This is a continuing scholarship program that supports the hardworking tobacco producing families in our region,” Brannon said. “Dark Tobacco has been a prime economic factor to many of these families in assisting their children through college so this scholarship is especially meaningful.”

    Brannon said that if you look at it in terms of crop production that this scholarship program has annually returned funding equivalent to several additional acres of tobacco income to students from Dark Tobacco families without having to actually grow the crop.

    Brannon said: “We are especially grateful to U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company for their continuing assistance.”