USTC enhances grower-assessments

| April 19, 2016
Stuart Thompson

Stuart Thompson

U.S. Tobacco Cooperative (USTC) is expanding its grower-audit program to include an independent third-party assessment of all its farmers.

Incorporating the tobacco industry’s existing good agricultural practices (GAP) and social responsibility in tobacco production (SRTP) programs, the enhanced evaluation process is intended to verify that U.S. flue-cured tobacco sourced from USTC is produced in a manner that is sustainable, compliant and competitive, meeting total product-integrity and quality-requirements for both export and domestic markets.

“We want to ensure our growers continue to embrace sound agricultural practices to produce a high quality, natural flavor crop while protecting, sustaining and enhancing the environment and safeguarding the rights and conditions of those working throughout the supply chain” says USTC CEO Stuart Thompson.

USTC’s contracted growers will be audited by GAP Connections. These audits will focus on overall farm and crop management, adherence to agricultural standards and practices relating to crop rotation, seed selection, curing techniques, the elimination of non-tobacco related materials, limited and safe use of agrochemicals, the eradication of child labor and fair treatment of all those working in the production of U.S. flue-cured tobacco.

In 2015, USTC announced its participation in the globally recognized SRTP program, designed to ensure that industry requirements are being met throughout the product cycle, from seed to delivery. SRTP balances tobacco production with environmental management, soil and water conservation, the production of other agricultural crops and health and safety standards throughout.

“SRTP has evolved into the industry standard for tobacco production, providing guidance and support, assessments and validation through a step based approach designed to facilitate continuous improvement,” says Thompson.

“The SRTP program, run by AB Sustain, is used globally by compliant tobacco suppliers and manufacturers to encourage clear and consistent standards across the industry. By implementing a 100 percent grower audit program, by an independent third party for the 2016 flue-cured crop, USTC plans to set the standard for the U.S. tobacco industry.”

Category: Breaking News

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