No time for nostalgia
While recently researching news stories for www.tobaccofarmquarterly.com, I read an article about a 54-year-old “carpenter, cultural geographer and musician” who was premiering his documentary, “Down in the Old Belt: Voices from the Tobacco South,”* at a small theater in Roanoke, Va.
The filmmaker, Jim Crawford, spent eight years interviewing more than 200 tobacco farming families and other industry representatives.
I tracked down Crawford and begged a copy of the movie to review. It’s a well-paced, thoughtful film about the infinitely interesting history and culture of U.S. tobacco- growing from the colonial period to the present. The movie centers on the history of the flue-cured growing regions in southern Virginia, but any U.S. farmer would relate to some of the documentary’s darker moments or feel a twinge of nostalgia as the film shows tobacco’s brighter days.
I thought the film was excellent, but if anything, it reinforced how much times have changed for tobacco growers, especially in the last few years.
Our magazine reflects those changes, providing information to help growers compete in this new, global market. In this issue, TFQ has Royster-Clark President Ken Moshenek’s predictions for the crop in the U.S. Award-winning tobacco journalist Rocky Womack explores the future of burley production in Kentucky and Tennessee. Research confirms a new type of transplant tray might help you save money. North Carolina flue-cured growers are looking at burley production to make up some of the earnings they’ve lost since the buyout. Agribusiness expert Randall Pope asks how the industry will meet global demands in the future. And, as always, our editors have included news updates from tobacco-growing countries around the globe in World Leaf News.
U.S. farmers who want to continue growing tobacco and are able to adapt to the changes demanded by the industry will be successful. But achieving that success might require some time, and it’s definitely going to require changes in the way they think. Nostalgia might have a place in films, but it shouldn’t have a place in your business.
Matt Mullen, Editor