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NCDA Working on International Marketing of Tobacco

Late last month North Carolina Department of Agriculture released a video on the state’s tobacco production to showcase the industry’s commitment to growing leaf to international buyers. Peter Thornton, Assistant Director of International Marketing with NCDA:

“Commissioner Troxler has focused in on the quality of North Carolina tobacco, our long term commitment to tobacco and the integrity that you find in US tobacco that you don’t find in the competition. He has developed a brochure and video to share with the industry and customize it to use in individual promotions.”

While the video begins with setting a tobacco field, Thornton explains that it’s not a ‘how to’ video:

“It’s a video on why US and North Carolina tobacco is better than the alternatives in other markets.”

Thornton says that China is the number one buyer of US leaf:

“The first thing we are doing is translating everything into Chinese.”

And will there be other translations:

“If there is a demand for it then yes, but we wont do it until the industry says we need it in a certain language.”

But, no matter the language, Thornton says the message will be the same:

“The underlying message is that the US tobacco is what they are getting, and with that, quality, integrity and commitment.”

in this day and age of pervasive anti-tobacco messages that would be the obvious limit to demand, but Thornton says not so:

“The biggest constraint is not demand, it is going to be barn space. We can sell more tobacco, especially in the international market, but what will limit production is the amount of barn space in the US.”

And with tobacco curing barns costing upwards of $30 thousand dollars each producers aren’t always comfortable investing in their infrastructure without long term contracts. Part of the purpose of the enhanced tobacco marketing campaign is to secure long term contracts for US leaf.

To see the video and brochure, 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.