Burley tobacco production is unique to our area. Burley tobacco production began on our farm in 1998 with 6 acres. A greenhouse was added for transplant production in 1999, and by 2000, acreage had grown to 40 acres of tobacco. From 2000 until 2005 our tobacco acreage remained constant. Contrary to the swine and cattle business, we were able to expand our tobacco acreage without significant investments in infrastructure – only a greenhouse, transplanter, and tobacco sticks. This business philosophy served us well until the tobacco industry somewhat stabilized after the termination of the federal quota system.
Since 2005, we have decided to stay with the enterprise and have invested in its future – three new curing barns, an additional greenhouse, a new bunkhouse for migrant workers, and a ‘big’ burley baler to convert from 80 pound bales to 600 pound bales for marketing. Because of our investments in this vital enterprise, we now grow 170 acres of burley tobacco.