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2012 Tobacco Day Focuses on Unified GAP Program

Yesterday was the 2012 Tobacco Day, at the Johnston County Extension Center near Smithfield. More than 200 producers and producer representatives attended the annual event where this year’s overall theme was Good Agricultural Practices or GAP.

Mathew Vann, NC State Extension associate, spoke on the role of tobacco in the fight against resistant weeds:

“A general observation by county extension agents, specialists and farmers in general is that when tobacco is featured in a rotation, palmer amaranth populations in subsequent crops in years after tobacco has been removed. They seem to be lower than in other crops vs. continuous corn, cotton or soybeans.”

Dr. Mina Mila, Associate Professor & Tobacco Extension Specialist backed up that claim, going on to say that rotating tobacco into a field no more than once every three years also reduced the incidence of several tobacco diseases, including blank shank.

As the talk turned to GAP for tobacco; tobacco contractors, as well as the land grant universities in the southeast have worked together to create a unified GAP certification program. NC State Entomologist Dr. Hannah Burrack:

“All of our tobacco contract holders in North Carolina and the US, will be receiving GAP training this year.”

These new practices will replace the previous system of each contractor having their own set of paperwork, which was cumbersome for producers that did business with more than one contractor.

Mathew Vann explains that all producers that contract for leaf in 2013 will be required to attend a GAP certification session:

“For US tobacco, GAP training is required by the following companies: RJ Reynolds, Santa Fe, American Snuff, Universal Leaf North America, Alliance One International, Philip Morris USA, US Tobacco Cooperative among others. Each grower will receive the GAP manual in a three ring binder at the GAP meeting they register for. They will be conducted by the cooperative extension service. They will also receive a certificate of attendance.”

Those meetings will be conducted over the next few months around the state.

NC State Economist, Dr. Blake Brown spoke to the current price situation, which is very good:

“Clearly supply is one reason we had stronger prices this year. It is the first good quality crop that we have had since 2009.”

And like many crops in the southeast, not only are prices good, demand is good as well according to Brown:

“Demand is up because of China and the global trend for expanding players. I think those demand increases are very real.”

Universal Leaf International’s George Scott along with Stan Biconish were inducted as Tobacco Greats. For more on the 2012 Tobacco Day click here is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.