Monday, October 25, 2010

Dark tobacco holds stable as burley declines

Burley tobacco, the mainstay of cigarettes, has declined since the federal price-support and quota program ended in 2004, but "dark tobacco — used for snuff and grown primarily in Western Kentucky — has rebounded," Greg Hall reports for The Courier-Journal of Louisville. (John Perkins photo: Dark tobacco fire-cures in a barn next to a soybean field in Calloway County)

"This year's dark tobacco crop is forecast at 41.3 million pounds, down about 10 percent from last year, but still higher than the 26 million pounds seen in the early 1990s," Hall writes. "Where Kentucky burley farmers produced more than 400 million pounds in the early 1990s, the current crop is forecast at 136.8 million pounds, down 15 percent from the 2009 crop." Dark tobacco, which can also be air-cured like burley, brings a higher price and produces more pounds per acre.

University of Kentucky agricultural economist Will Snell told Hall that tobacco companies "can't find that type of tobacco anywhere else in the world market," and Hall notes that the companies have processing plants in the Western Kentucky cities of Hopkinsville and Owensboro. (Read more)

No comments: