Peeking ahead to the future - Fourth Quarter 2008
Wrapping up 2008
Tobacco farmers have come through a tumultuous time in the past decade. The growers dealt with deregulation and the buyout, grew or shrank their acreage, invested in new technologies or waited things out with the old proven ways of agriculture and found ways to continue their place in the world.
And they did all this while doing what they always do—work through long, hard months growing a crop when, at times, it seemed all the factors in making a good crop were going against them.
A grower knows that which he has earned. And he wonders about what is to come. We have spent these last few months trying to take a peek into some of the things that may be in a grower’s future—the crop he grows, what is to be done with it and what may be made of it.
We looked at two kinds of tobacco—organic and genetically modified. One has a market, one does not. One can be seen as a boon to growers and consumers, while the other is less of a sure deal on that front. One fetches an improved price but requires more certification and hand labor. The other can make growing a crop a more profitable proposition, if the crop can find a viable commercial use.
We found an inventive man with an eye toward combining curing with renewable energy sources, who came up with a product that could change the landscape in flue-cured growing country.
And we brought back a memory or two from a few summer activities, checking out test plots and research studies on both the North Carolina and the Kentucky tobacco tours. Anyone who has gone on a tour knows that the future of the industry may be found in the idea that is around the next dusty corner.
We have tried to show growers what might be ahead of them in this edition. We are not trying to be fortune-tellers, and it could be that none of these subjects amount to anything in the overall scheme of things. But as growers, you all will give these notions due consideration – you usually do. It is your way.
We thank you for that.
Tobacco Farm Quarterly