Burley tobacco has experienced a drastic decline in Daviess County due to changing weather patterns, higher production costs, and slim profit margins.
However, farmers are shifting to another crop – cigar wrapper tobacco – that appears to have a huge market. Unlike burley, which is shredded and used for cigarette filler, wrapper tobacco leaves must be free of blemishes, holes and discoloration.
The tobacco is cut early and picked up quickly in the field. The leaves are hung on scaffold wagons for transport to the barn, where they are stored for six weeks to dry. Once at market, the tobacco is graded based on quality.
Local farmer Brad Stephen describes the process in this crop update from Birk City, Kentucky.