Good Finish to the 2017 Tobacco Crop


This has been an interesting tobacco season, the growing season got off to a shaky start with the weather, but growers in general seem to be fairly pleased with the way the season turned out.  NC State Extension Economist, Dr. Blake Brown:

“Yeah, I think that’s right.  I think for the most part, of course there’s always some exceptions out there, but for the most part it turned out to be a pretty decent year for growers, they had pretty good yields and pretty good quality.  Above average year, maybe.”

Contracts going into the 2017 growing season were acceptable, shall we say, growers weren’t unhappy with them.

“That’s right, we were in a pretty good situation. Obviously, I think producers would like for contracts to come out earlier than they do so they know exactly what they have to plan for for the next year.”

In 2016 we had some reduction in contracts offered.  Did we see the same thing this year?

“No, I think things were pretty stable this year, there may have been some out there, there’s always some changes, but nothing like what we saw in 2016, I don’t think.”

And what are you hearing for 2018?

“Well, what I’m hearing is that global stocks of flavor-style flue cured tobacco are not real high, that they’re fairly low.  We had a fairly normal size crop in Brazil this year, but I do hear that they’re having a lot of rain here at the end of the season. 

“So, I think we’re going into the 2018 year in a pretty good supply/demand balance, not a big crop from Brazil, and maybe a few issues down there.  We’ll have to wait and see what works out.  So, it would be surprising if we saw a big change in contracts, but I’ve been many times surprised before, but there’s nothing out there that tells me that we should exp ct  a big change, at least right now.”

All of this and so much more will be presented at the annual tobacco meeting coming up the first week of December.

“That’s right, just in a couple of weeks.”

And it will be in its usual place, Johnston County.

“That’s right.  The Johnston County Extension Offices just outside of Smithfield, and it’ll be December 7th, the first Thursday in December, as always.”

What do we need to add here, Blake?

“Well, the juicy topic this year is the heat-not-burn tobacco thing so that’s what everybody’s talking about.  Of course, it’s much too early to know exactly how that’s going to impact us.   But, it certainly seems to be gaining very, very strong momentum in global markets.  Seems like it’s going to be a factor in the future.”

Again, the annual Tobacco Day will be Thursday, December 7th, getting underway at 8:00 am at the Johnston County Cooperative Extension Center just outside Smithfield.  The event concludes with lunch.  For more information, contact the Johnston County Extension Center.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.