Tuesday, January 17, 2017

THE SEASON BEGINS IN THE DEEP SOUTH


This picture, taken January 14, shows a tray from one of a few Deep South greenhouses that have emerging seedlings already.

Seedlings have emerged in a few greenhouses in Georgia and Florida. "But most greenhouse operators will begin seeding in earnest this week and next," says J. Michael Moore, Georgia Extension tobacco specialist. Most plants are produced commercially in the Deep South, he says. "Farmers have placed their orders and are making plans on a successful season."
 
Other states have a way to go before seeding should begin. There is always a temptation to start early if you have time on your hands but N.C. Extension tobacco specialist Matthew Vann counsels against it. "Don't be lulled into seeding your greenhouse just because there's nothing else to do," he says.
 
If you re-use green-house trays, rinse them prior to fall storage and disinfect them just before seeding in the spring, says Eric Walker, Tn. Extension tobacco specialist. Avoid storing sanitized trays in areas where they may come in contact with soil or debris. Or you could cover your trays with plastic or a tarp.
 
The new flue variety NC 938 performed very well in testing last summer. "It offers very high resistance to both strains of black shank and also has very high yield potential," says Matthew Vann, N.C. Extension tobacco specialist. "But its resistance to Granville wilt is only moderate." He suggests planting some NC 938 this year in hot black shank fields, manage it just as you normally would, and see how it does against standard resistant varieties. All three producers of flue-cured seed are selling this variety this season. 

Nimitz, a new non-fumigant nematicide, may be available for tobacco this year. It depends on if it passes the industry smoke test in time. The manufacturer Adama obtained registration last June for use of Nimitz on tobacco. Distribution will be handled through normal channels. Watch this space for more information.
 
Whenever you get Nimitz, it should be a good option for nematode control. "Like any contact nematicide, the control you get is not as good as you would expect from a fumigant," says Alex Csinos, University of Georgia plant pathologist. "But in situations where you can't or don't want to use fumigants, it can be a good second choice. It is way better than no-thing at all." Most farmers will apply it to the soil -- either broadcast or in bands -- and incorporate it. Efficient application will be important because the cost of the material will be high.

The availability of  Telone II is a matter of some concern. "It is likely that delivery through dealers will be on the slow side," says Moore. "Farmers can't afford much of a delay in application of Telone II."

Belted by lack of Belt? "The loss of Belt puts pressure on the grower to choose wisely among what few insecticides are available," says Moore. There are still opportunities to rotate chemistries to maximize the benefit of the insecticides you have and to avoid the development of resistance, he adds.

DATES TO REMEMBER
  • January 19-20. 2017 Tobacco Expo. Opens 11 a.m. Thursday9 a.m. Friday.  Lexington (Ky.) Convention Center.
  • January 19. Annual Meeting, Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association, , Heritage Hall, Lexington (Ky.) Convention Center, 4 p.m. (in conjunction with Tobacco Expo).
  • January 20. Annual Meeting, Council for Burley Tobacco, Lexington (Ky.) Convention Center. Noon (in conjunction with Tobacco Expo).
  • February 1-3. Southern Farm Show. N.C. State Fairgrounds, Raleigh, N.C. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • February 3. Annual Meeting, Tobacco Growers Association of N.C., Holshouser Bldg., N.C. State Fairgrounds. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., ending with lunch (during Southern Farm Show).
  • February 7, Tennessee-Kentucky Tobacco Expo, Robertson County Fairgrounds, 4635 Highway 41 North, Springfield, Tn. 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.Sponsored lunch. Includes a trade show. Private Pesticide Applicator Recertification Training and GAP Training sessions will be provided.  For more information, call 615-384-7936.
THE SOUTHERN FARM SHOW
Exhibits of interest to tobacco growers listed by location on the N.C. State Fairgrounds. List courtesy of Southern Shows Inc. Note To ExhibitorsIf you are not listed below and would like to be included in the late January issue of TFN, please write to chrisbickers @gmail.com.

Jim Graham Bldg.  
  • 222 Evans Mactavish Agricraft.
  • 227 Kelley Mfg. Co. Agricultural equipment.
  • 704 (also 8131) Agri Supply. Agricultural materials.
  • 807 Mechanical Transplanter Co. Transplanters, seeding equipment.
  • 808 BulkTobac (Gas Fired Products). Curing equipment and controls.
Kerr Scott Bldg. 
  • 1002 TriEst Ag Group (Formerly Hendrix and Dail). Fumigation supplies.
  • 1107 Flue Cured Tobacco Services. Curing controls.
  • 1015 Yara North America. Fertility products.
  • 1104 GoldLeaf Seed Co. Tobacco seed.
  • 1114 Transplant Systems. Greenhouse systems.  
  • 1116 Cross Creek Seed. Tobacco seed.
  • 1121 AAA Scale Co.
  • 1201 Carolina Greenhouse & Soil Company.
  • 1202 Reddick Equipment Company Inc.
  • 1302 Mid-Atlantic Irrigation. Irrigation equipment.
Exposition Bldg.
  • 3127 (also 8609) Benchmark Buildings & Irrigation. Transplanters and irrigation equipment.
  • 3135 Southern Container Corporation of Wilson. Bale sheets and packaging.  
  • 3311 Flame Engineering. Weed control with flame.
  • 3522 First Products Inc. Fertilizer boxes for cultivators and tool bars.
  • 3605 MarCo Mfg. Tobacco machinery.
  • 3714 (also 8615) Cureco, Inc. Curing controls.
Tent 1
  • 5108 Fairbanks Scale
  • 5110 Britt Technical Services, Inc. Rotem Curing Controls.
Scott Tent
  • 7025 Drexel Chemical Company. Sucker control chemicals.
  • 7319 ABI Irrigation. Irrigation equipment. 
Outdoors 
  • 8035 Equipmax. Tobacco spray equipment.
  • 8039 Vause Equipment Co. Farm equipment.
  • 8204 Wilson Manufacturing. Farm trailers
  • 8217 Granville Equipment. Tobacco Machinery.
  • 8221 Walters Air Assist Plant Release System. Plant release system. 
  • 8301 De Cloet SRL. Tobacco machinery.
  • 8546 Kelley Mfg. Co. Agricultural equipment.
  • 8604 Williamson Greenhouses.
  • 8701 Tytun Ltd. Bulk flue-curing barns.
  • 8705 Long Tobacco Barn Co. Bulk tobacco curing barns. 

GAP TRAINING EVENTS

VIRGINIA (Flue-Cured)
  • January 17, 9 a.m. Southern Piedmont Center, 2375 Darvills Road, Blackstone VA. Registration at 8:30 a.m. Contact Lindy Tucker at tucker07@vt.edu or 434-696-5526.
  • January 18, 4 p.m. Meherrin River Hunt Club, 435 Dry Creek Rd., South Hill, VA. Contact Taylor Clark at clarke@ vt.edu or 434 738 6191
  • January 19, 4 p.m. Olde Domi-nion Agricultural Complex, 19783 U.S. Highway 29 South, Chatham VA. Contact Ste-phen Barts at sbarts @vt.edu or 434-432-7770.
  • January 25, 10 a.m. Scottsburg Volunteer Fire Department, 3050 Scottsburg Rd., Scottsburg, Va. Registration at 9:30 a.m. Contact Rebecca Slabach at cbrown04@vt.edu or 434-476-2147.
  • February 15,10 a.m. Midway Baptist Church 2595 Midway Rd., Phenix, Va. Registration at 9:30 a.m. Contact Bob Jones at rojones2@vt.edu or 434-542-5884.
  • February 15, 10 a.m. Midway Baptist Church 2595 Midway Rd., Phenix, Va. Registration at 9:30 a.m. Contact Bob Jones at rojones2 @vt.edu or 434-542-5884.
NORTH CAROLINA (Flue-Cured)
  • January 18, 9 a.m. Wayne County Extension Cntr., 208 Chestnut St., Goldsboro, NC. Contact Tyler Whaley at tyler_whaley @ncsu.edu or 919-731-1527.
  • January 19, 9 a.m. Lenoir County Shrine Club, 1558 Hwy 70, East Kinston NC. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Contact Mike Carroll at mike_carroll@ncsu.edu or 252-633-1477.
  • January 20, 9 a.m. McSwain Extension Center, 2420 Tramway Rd., Sanford NC. Contact Zack Taylor at zrtaylor@ncsu.edu or 919-775-5624.
  • January 23, 8 a.m. Caswell County Civic Center, 536 Main St., East Yanceyville NC. Registration opens at 8 a.m. Meeting will start at 9 a.m.. Lunch will be served. Contact Joey E. Knight III at joey_knight@ncsu.edu or 336-694-4158.
  • January 24, 9 a.m. Harnett County Government Complex Commons Area, 309 W. Cornelius Harnett Blvd., Lillington NC 27546. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Contact Brian Parrish at brian_ parrish@ncsu.edu or 910-893-7530.
  • January 25, 9 a.m. Sampson County Ag Expo Center 414 Warsaw Rd. Clinton, NC. Contact Della King at della_king@ncsu.edu or 910-592-7161.
  • February 3, 1:30 p.m. Holshouser Bld., NC State Fair Grounds, Raleigh NC (after the TGANC Annual Meeting during Southern Farm Show). Lunch will be provided. Contact Matthew Vann at matthew_ vann@ncsu.edu or 919-513-0904.
INDIANA (Burley)
KENTUCKY (Burley/Dark)
TENNESSEE (Burley)
  • January 30, 10 a.m. Stewart County Visitors Ctr., 117 Visitors Ctr. Lane, Dover, Tn. Start time not final. Contact Joe Griffy at jgriffy1@utk.edu or 931-232-5682.
  • February 7, 8 a.m. Robertson Co. Fairgrounds Bldg., 4635 Highway 41 North, Springfield, Tn. Private Pesticide Applicator Recertification Training and GAP Training sessions will be provided. Contact Eric Walker at ewalke22 @utk.edu or 731-394-0389.
  • February 20, 5 p.m. Montgomery County Extension Office, 1030 Cumberland Heights Rd., Ste. A, Clarksville, Tn. Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Contact Rusty Evans at jevans1@utk.edu or 931-648-5725.

Friday, January 6, 2017

AVERAGE QUALITY IN PROCESSED BURLEY IS GOOD NEWS FOR GROWERS

Loading boxed burley at a Burley Stabilization Corporation warehouse in Springfield, Tn.
Good news for burley growers? Steve Pratt, general manager of the Burley Tobacco
Growers Cooperative Association in Lexington, Ky., says that despite the weather,
the first burley his cooperative has processed is useable leaf. "It doesn't look
bad," he says. "The quality appears in the average range." The yield won't be average,
however. Because of the weather, this is a very short crop. Pratt thinks there is
at least 110 million pounds out there but other reliable sources have estimated 
lower. It may be a while before a definite number is obtained because burley deliveries
are coming in very slowly, says Pratt.
When a market-depressing oversupply turns into a factor in market stability: Just
six months ago, burley inventories were considered excessive. Now, the industry 
is glad to have them to ensure that burley buyers will get what they need this season.
There's not much help for burley on the demand side: U.S. burley exports have dropped
by more than 30 percent during the past marketing year as the market adjusted to
 excessive global supplies of lower-priced leaf, says Will Snell, Kentucky Extension
tobacco economist. This trend was aided by a stronger U.S. dollar and slumping product
sales in some blended cigarette markets," says Snell. Domestic demand for U.S. burley
remains relatively weak as the market reverts back to more traditional annual declines
in U.S. cigarette sales. Another factor is the continued use of a relatively high
volume of imported burley.
No hurry to seed your greenhouse. Seeding of flue-cured greenhouses should begin
50 to 55 days before your anticipated transplanting date, and there is very
little benefit from seeding sooner, say N.C. Extension crop scientists. "Early seeding
increases heating costs as well as the potential for collar rot," they say.
Beating budworm without Belt: Registration for Belt (flubendiamide) has been canceled
due to concerns about non-target effects on aquatic invertebrates. “Blackhawk appears to be essentially the only foliar-applied material we can widely recommend for tobacco
budworm,” says Hannah Burrack, N.C. Extension Entomologist.
The 2017 Tobacco Expo will take place January 19 and 20 at the Lexington (Ky.) Convention Center.
Exhibitors will include Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association; Council for Burley Tobacco, Inc.;
 Arysta Life-Science; Syngenta LLC.; F.W. Rickard Seeds; Kentucky Department of Fish and 
Wildlife Resources; R. J. Equipment; Continental Industries, Inc.; AG-TECH; FarmLogic--Soil Test Pro; 
Kentucky Women in Agriculture; Kentucky Tobacco Research and Development Center; Kentucky 
Black Hereford Association; Workman Tobacco Seed, Inc.; Newton Seed, Inc.; AGSAFE; and Ohio 
Tobacco Museum.
There were some encouraging developments in 2016 for U.S. leaf, according to Blake
Brown, N.C. Extension economist.
* Global surpluses, especially of flavor-style flue-cured, were reduced.
* Despite continued reductions in cigarette consumption and increases in taxation
and regulation, industry profits remained strong.
* If "heat-not-burn" products catch on, it could favor leaf compared to vapor products.
* But exchange rates favored increased Brazilian production, and Brazilian flue-cured
production is up at around 1.4 billion pounds.
Opportunities for U.S. flavor-style leaf producers are in countries where smokers
are expected to 'trade up' to premium brand cigarettes, said Brown at N.C. Tobacco
Day in December.

DATES TO REMEMBER
* January 11-12. S.C. Agribiz and Farm Expo. Florence (S.C.) Civic Center. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (W) and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (T).
* January 19-20. 2017 Tobacco Expo. Opens 11 a.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. Friday.  Lexington
(Ky.) Convention Center.
* January 19. Annual Meeting, Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association, 4 p.m., 
Heritage Hall, Lexington (Ky.) Convention Center (in conjunction with Tobacco Expo).
* January 20. Annual Meeting, Council for Burley Tobacco, Lexington (Ky.) Convention
Center. Noon (in conjunction with Tobacco Expo).
* February 1-3. Southern Farm Show. N.C. State Fairgrounds, Raleigh, N.C. 9 a.m.
 to 4 p.m.
* February 3. Annual Meeting, Tobacco Growers Association of N.C., Holshouser Bldg.,
N.C. State Fairgrounds. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., ending with lunch (during Southern Farm
Show).
* February 7, 8 a.m. Tobacco Expo, Robertson Co. Fairgrounds, 4635 Highway 41 North,
Springfield, Tn.

GAP TRAINING EVENTS

INDIANA (Burley)
* February 21, 1 p.m. Saddle Club, 710 Fairgrounds Rd., Scottsburg IN. Contact Megan
Voyles at mvoyles@purdue.edu or 812-752-8450.
* February 21, 6 p.m. Switzerland County Extension Ofc., 708 West Seminary St., 
Vevay IN. Contact Kyle Weaver at keweaver@purdue.edu or 812-427-3152.
* February 24 1 p.m. Orange County Extension Ofc., 205 East Main St., Paoli IN. 
Contact Paul Vining at vining@purdue.edu or 812-723-2107.

KENTUCKY (Burley/Dark)
* January 17, 5:30 p.m. Cumberland Co. Extension Ofc., 90 Smith Grove Rd., Burkesville
KY. Chelsey Pickens at capick3@uky.edu or 606-387-5404.
* January 20, 9 a.m. Heritage Hall, 430 West Vine St., Lexington KY. Contact Bob
 Pearce at rpearce@uky.edu or 859-257-5110.
* January 24, 6 p.m. James E. Bruce Convention Ctr., 303 Conference Ctr. Dr., Hopkinsville
KY. Contact Andy Bailey at abailey@uky.edu or 270-365-7541.
* January 26, 11 a.m. Owensboro Convention Ctr., 501 W 2nd St., Owensboro KY. Contact
Andy Bailey at abailey@uky.edu or 270-365-7541.
* January 26, 6 p.m. Woodford County Extension Ofc., 184 Beasley Rd., Versailles
 KY. Contact Adam Probst at adam.probst@uky.edu or 859 873-4601.
* January 27, 9 a.m. Shelby County Extension Ofc., 1117 Frankfort Rd., Shelbyville
KY. Contact Corinne Belton at corinne.belton@uky.edu or 502-633-4593.
* January 27, 1 p.m. Henry County Extension Ofc., 2151 Campbellsburg Rd., New Castle
KY. Contact Levi Berg at levi.berg@uky.edu or 502-845-2811.
* January 30 6:30 p.m. Pendleton County Extension Ofc., 45 David Pribble Dr., Falmouth
KY. Contact Lindie Huffman at lindie.huffman@uky.edu or 859-654-3395 3480
* January 31, 5 p.m. Blewitt-Bradley Building, 309 North High St., Franklin KY. 
Contact Jason Phillips at jrphil0@uky.edu or 270-586-4484 .
* February 2, 6 p.m. Webster Co. Extension Ofc., 1118 US Hwy 41A, South Dixon KY.
Contact Vicki Shadrick at vshadric@uky.edu or 270-639-9011.
* February 7, 9 a.m. Green Co. Extension Ofc., 298 Happyville Rd., Greensburg. KY.
Contact Ricky Arnett at ricky.arnett@uky.edu or 270-932-5311.
* February 9, 6 p.m. Lincoln County Extension Ofc., 104 Metker Trail, Stanford KY.
Contact Will Stallard at will.stallard@uky.edu or 606-365-2459.
* February 22, 10 a.m. Pulaski County Extension Ofc., 18 Parkway Drive Somerset 
KY. Contact Beth Wilson at beth.wilson@uky.edu or 606-679-6361.
* February 28, 6 p.m. Allen County Extension Ofc., 200 East Main St., Scottsville
KY. Contact Steve Osborne at sosborne@uky.edu or 270-237-3146.
* March 7, 6 p.m. Nicholas County Livestock Barn, 1471 Concrete Rd., Carlisle KY.
Contact Clay Stamm at clay.stamm@uky.edu or 859-289-2312.
* March 9, 6 p.m. Owen County Extension Ofc., 265 Ellis Hwy, Owenton KY. Steve Musen
at steve.musen@uky.edu or 502-484 5703.
* March 21, 6:30 p.m. Barren County High School Trojan Academy, 505 Trojan Trail,
Glasgow KY. Contact Chris Shalk at chris.schalk@uky.edu or 270-651-3818.

TENNESSEE (Burley)
* January 30, 10 a.m. Stewart County Visitors Ctr., 117 Visitors Ctr. Lane, Dover
TN. Start time not final. Contact Joe Griffy at jgriffy1@utk.edu or 931-232-5682.
* February 7, 8 a.m. Robertson Co. Fairgrounds Bldg., 4635 Highway 41 North, Springfield
TN. GAP Training will be held in conjunction with Tobacco Expo, with sessions beginning
at 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Contact Eric Walker at ewalke22@utk.edu or 731-394-0389.
* February 20, 5 p.m. Montgomery County Extension Ofc., 1030 Cumberland Heights 
Rd., Ste. A, Clarksville TN. Dinner at 6:30 p.m. Contact Rusty Evans at jevans1@utk.edu
or 931-648-5725.

ADVERTISING








Saturday, December 24, 2016

PRODUCTION WAY DOWN FOR BURLEY AND DARK


Piles of sawdust rest outside a fire-curing barn near Clarksville, Tn. Growing conditions were abysmal in much of the dark tobacco area of central Tennessee and western Kentucky.

Burley sales sagging: About 65 percent of the burley crop has been marketed, and
auction warehouseman Jerry Rankin of Danville, Ky., says the market hasn't been
strong so far. At his warehouse, through his sale on Tuesday, December 20, he had
sold about a million pounds for an average of about $1.72 per pound. He calculated
that at about 10 cents per pound less than contract prices. None of these numbers
make him optimistic about the end of the season. He expects to hold his last sale
sometime in February. "We sold 3.1 million pounds last season. I can't see us doing
that this year."
Will there be 100 million pounds of burley? Tremendous mid-season rains followed
by a dry curing season crippled yields. Most reliable sources say that USDA's last
estimate of burley production was way too high at 143 million pounds. Estimates 
of 110 to 120 million pounds have been suggested, but Rankin doubts it will reach
as high as 100 million. "This may be the shortest burley crop ever," he says.
Dark tobacco is very short too. In response to a very poor growing season, dark 
air-cured and fire-cured production is expected to total 53.3 million pounds in 
2016, says Kentucky Extension agricultural economist Will Snell. That would be about
20 million pounds less than in 2015, or 27 percent. Prices for dark tobaccos had
already hit record average levels in 2015 of nearly $2.70 per pound for dark fire-cured
and $2.37 per pound for dark air-cured. "Prices are expected to remain relatively
strong for the 2016 crop [now being marketed] with the potential of expanded contract
volume in 2017 to account for the significantly smaller crop this past year," says
Snell.
China's demand for imported tobacco from all sources seems to be
dropping off. Fortunately for U.S. tobacco producers, a growing share of
Chinese consumers can now afford to upgrade to higher quality cigarettes.
"Consequently, sales in China of premium brand cigarettes are still
growing," says A. Brown, N.C. Extension economist. "This increases
the demand for U.S. tobacco: Chinese manufacturers use more flavor style tobacco
in premium brands." But the benefit is much more likely for flue-cured
growers than burley, since most Chinese cigarettes are all Virginia blends
A tough year for world tobacco production. Nearly all the countries that produce
flavor style  leaf  had a hard time in the most recent growing season. And for 
some, that problem is exacerbated by currency problems and political instability.
The situation is listed in the following report, based on the analysis of Dr. Iqbal
Lambat, c.e.o. of Star Tobacco International.

--ZIMBABWE--Chinese enthusiasm for Zimbabwe leaf has been the bright spot on this 
market. Prices for top "Chinese styles" can reach US$10 per kg or more, and small
scale farmers are hungry to cash in. However, China can take only about 50 percent
of the crop. The remainder--made up of mostly non-Chinese styles--has to compete
with Brazil and U.S. flavor styles, resulting in considerable pressure on prices.
Downward pricing has been experienced at all of the four trading floors recently.
Farmer   disaffection has been so great at times that the army has been needed to
maintain order. Zimbabwe's flue-cured 2015/16 crop (i.e, the last one) was the smallest
in the past five years. Based on seed sales to farmers, the crop next year crop 
is projected at 150 million kgs.

--BRAZIL--Brazil's currency has depreciated by almost 50 percent in the last 12 months,
to 3.1 to the US dollar. At over six percent, unemployment is the highest it's been
since 2008. Borrowing interest rates are close to 20 percent. In such an environment,
it's been extremely difficult for farmers to obtain financing for crops, not to 
mention for leaf processors to engage in large-scale purchases for production. What's
worse for the Brazilians, the impact of all this will be even more severe for the
2016/17 crop, as financing dries up. Now, marketing of the crop is just beginning.
The current volume estimate is 550 million kgs of flue-cured and 80 million kgs 
of burley. There are virtually no uncommitted stocks available in Brazil.

--ARGENTINA--The smallest of the "flavor" flue-cured producers appears to be the hardest
hit of all, with a currency that has depreciated by over 100 percent since a year
ago and has reached a level of close to 15 to the U.S. dollar. Inflation ran at 
three percent per month, and borrowing interest rates that peaked at 40 percent 
per annum made cash flow management difficult. The leaf situation in Argentina appears
more desperate than that of Brazil. The 2015/16 crop closed at 70 million kgs of
flue-cured and 15 million kgs of burley. Uncommitted inventories are at an all-time
low. The four major producing regions are all holding relatively low levels of inventory
at around 10 million kgs. The current 2016/17 crop is earmarked to return to the
level of 90 million kgs of flue-cured and 20 million kgs of burley.

DATES TO REMEMBER
* January 11-12. S.C. Agribiz and Farm Expo. Florence (S.C.) Civic Center.
* February 1-3. Southern Farm Show. N.C. State Fairgrounds, Raleigh, N.C.
* February 3. Annual Meeting, Tobacco Growers Association of N.C., Holshouser Bldg.,
N.C. State Fairgrounds. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., ending with lunch (during Southern Farm
Show).

GAP RECERTIFICATION MEETINGS
North Carolina (Flue-Cured)

* January 4, 9 a.m. Martin County Farmers Market, 4001 West Main St., Williamston
NC. Lunch will be provided. DOL and WPS presentations will be at beginning of meeting.
Need 75 labor posters. Contact Al Cochran at al_cochran@ncsu.edu at 252-789-4370.
* January 6, 9 a.m. The Farmer's Market, 1006 Peachtree St., Rocky Mount NC. Contact
Art Bradley at art_bradley@ncsu.edu at-252-614-7815.
* January 10, 9 a.m. Johnston County Extension Center  2736 NC 210 Highway, Smithfield
NC. Contact Bryant Spivey at bryant_spivey@ncsu.edu or 919-989-5380.
* January 11, 9 a.m. Wilson County Ag Center, 1806 Goldsboro St. SW, Wilson NC. 
Contact Norman Harrell at norman_harrell@ncsu.edu  or 252-237-0111.
* January 12, 9:30 a.m. Forsyth County Extension Center, 1450 Fairchild Rd., Winston
Salem NC. Lunch provided. Contact Tim Hambrick at tim_ hambrick@ncsu.edu or 336-703-2857.
* January 13, 8:30 a.m. Granville County Expo Center, 4185 US Highway 15, South 
Oxford NC. Contact Gary Cross at gwcross@ncsu.edu or 919-603-1350.
* January 18, 9 a.m. Wayne County Extension Center, 208 Chestnut St., Goldsboro 
NC. Contact Tyler Whaley at tyler_whaley@ncsu.edu or 919-731-1527.
* January 19, 9 a.m. Lenoir County Shrine Club, 1558 Hwy 70, East Kinston NC. Registration
begins at 8 a.m. Contract Mike Carroll or mike_carroll@ncsu.edu - 252-633-1477.
* January 20, 9 a.m. McSwain Extension Center, 2420 Tramway Rd., Sanford NC. Contact
Zack Taylor at zrtaylor@ncsu.edu. or 919-775-5624  3455.
* January 23, 8 a.m. Caswell County Civic Center, 536 Main St., East Yanceyville
 NC. Registration opens at 8 a.m. Meeting will start at 9 a.m.. Lunch will be served.
Contact Joey E. Knight, III at joey_knight@ncsu.edu or 336-694-4158.
* January 24, 9 a.m. Harnett County Government Complex Commons Area, 309 W. Cornelius
Harnett Blvd., Lillington NC 27546. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Contact Brian 
Parrish at brian_parrish@ncsu.edu or 910-8937530.
* January 25, 9 a.m. Sampson County Ag Expo Center 414 Warsaw Rd. Clinton NC. Contact
Della King at della_king@ncsu.edu or 910-592-7161.
* February 3, 1:30 p.m. Holshouser Bld., NC State Fair Grounds, Raleigh NC (in conjunction
with TGANC Annual Meeting during Southern Farm Show). Lunch will be provided. Contact
Matthew Vann at matthew_vann@ncsu.edu or 919-513-0904.

Virginia (Flue-cured)
* January 17, 9 a.m. Southern Piedmont Center, 2375 Darvills Rd., Blackstone VA 
Registration at 8:30 a.m. Contact Lindy Tucker at tucker07@vt.edu or 434-696-5526.
* January 18, 4 p.m. Meherrin River Hunt Club, 435 Dry Creek Rd., South Hill VA.
 Registration at 3:30 p.m. Contact Taylor Clarke at clarke@vt.edu or 434-738-6191.
* January 19, 4 p.m. Olde Dominion Ag Complex  19783 U. S. Highway 29, South Chatham
VA. Registration at 3:30 p.m. Contact Stephen Barts sbarts@vt.edu 434-432-7770.
* January 25, 10 a.m. Scottsburg Volunteer Fire Dept., 3050 Scottsburg Rd., Scottsburg
VA. Registration at 9:30 a.m. Contact Rebecca Slabach at cbrown04@ vt.edu 434-476-2147.
* February 15, 10 a.m. Midway Baptist Ch., Midway Rd., Phenix VA. Registration at
9:30 a.m. Contact Bob Jones at rojones2@vt.edu or 434-542-5884.
Editor's note: If you you would like to receive the newsletter at your email address (or change an existing address), please click on "Join our mailing list" below and follow the prompts. For more information, you can call me at 919-789-4631 or email at chrisbickers@gmail.com.--Chris Bickers







Monday, December 5, 2016

FLUE-CURED MARKET LIMPS TO A CLOSE


Bales of flue-cured on the floor of Old Belt Sales warehouse in Rural Hall, N.C., right after the last sale of the season on November 22.


Glad its all over: The flue-cured market came to what was for all practical purposes
the end of its season on November 22 when the Old Belt Warehouse in Rural Hall, 
N.C., held its last 2016 auction. Much of the offerings at that sale and the one
 held the week before was sunbaked and drew a low price. But until that late-season
slide, the price had held up pretty well, says  warehouse manager Dennis White. 
 "We averaged somewhere around $1.60 a pound, which was comparable to contract prices."
he says. He estimated the practical top at $1.80 a pound. His farmers seemed satisfied
at the auction performance as a whole.

The Piedmont got off to a terrible start when spring rains created what was in effect
an early crop and a late crop...and the early crop got much the better growing conditions.
"We wound up with 62 days of 95 degree plus temperatures, and that weighed very 
heavily on the later planted tobacco," says White. "The quality may have been as
 bad as 1977 or maybe worse."

Getting updated on good agricultural practices: GAP Connections (GAPC) farmer meetings
begin in early January. Some dates have already been set (see below). "The   meetings
will be conducted in cooperation with the state Extension programs, as local meetings
or as part of other regular events such as trade shows, association meetings and
 company meetings," says Paul Denton of the GAP staff. "Training will cover crop
 management, environmental management and labor management--specific to the needs
of growers in the area--with a short update on GAPC programs and activities."
Does "GAP Certified" mean anything? The phrase GAP Certified has appeared from time
to time since the training sessions first began, including advertising ap-pearing
in this publication. Auction warehouses used the phrase the first year to indicate
their full cooperation and especially their willingness to arrange GAP training 
for growers who didn't have access to meetings, so that they can obtain certification.
Editor's Note: As far as I know, this never happened. That phrase should be eliminated. As Denton tells TFN, "There currently is no label
of 'GAP Certified' for farms following GAP standards. Even for those growers who
 go through a third-party assessment, there is no score given and no designation
 of passing or failing by GAPC." Contracting companies can require grower participation
in the program and affirm that their growers attend training and complete an assessment
if chosen. "But they cannot accurately say that their growers are 'GAP certified'
through GAPC because there is no true certification system in place," said Denton.
A followup report on international tobacco control: Despite attempts to bring their
concerns before the current negotiations on the Framework Convention for Tobacco
 Control (FCTC) in India last month (see the November II 2016 issue of TFN), leaders
of   the International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA) say they have had little
success. "In spite of our efforts to open a line of communication with the FCTC 
Secretariat and our willingness to cooperate and share our members' vast experience
ITGA has been denied participation or even an audience with the delegates or the
 FCTC Secretariat," says Daniel Green, c.e.o. of Burley Stabilization Corporation
in Springfield, Tn., and new president of ITGA. "We will keep you informed on this
issue."

Outlook bleak for burley and dark: GAPC's Denton says his sources in Kentucky are
"really" pessimistic about the yield and quality of this year's offerings. "One 
dark representative thinks the dark-fired crop could be off by half, and the burley
growers I've talked to report yields in the 1,500-pound range," he says. "There 
is some concern about high color due to dry curing conditions." But reports from
 Ohio and Pennsylvania are much more optimistic, he says.

Burley supply and demand balance improved greatly over the past year, says Will 
Snell, Kentucky Extension economist,. That lead to "modest changes in U.S. burley
contract volume for 2016, following significant reductions in 2015," Snell says.  "Smaller crops in South America, Africa and the United States. coupled with a surprising
[though] modest increase in U.S. cigarette production in 2015 helped offset the adverse impacts of a strengthening dollar on U.S. burley international competitiveness."
A quick reduction in flue-cured inventories: Large global inventories of flue-cured
were problematic going into 2015 but had largely disappeared by 2016, says Blake
 Brown, N.C. Extension economist. The quick reduction was mostly due to excessive
rain in Brazil in 2016 that led to the smallest flue-cured crop in over a decade, at just over one billion pounds, according to Universal Leaf. That was down from
 1.26 billion pounds in 2015. Zimbabwe also experienced a smaller 2016 flue-cured crop because of severe drought during autumn 2015. Its production for 2016 was estimated
at 438 million pounds, down from 477 million pounds in 2015, according to the Zimbabwe
Tobacco Association.

DATES TO REMEMBER

* December 1. N.C. Tobacco Day 2016. Johnston County Extension Center, 2736 N.C.
 Hwy. 210, Smithfield, N.C. Meeting starts at 8:15 a.m. and ends with lunch.
* January 11-12. S.C. Agribiz and Farm Expo. Florence (S.C.) Civic Center.
* February 1-3. Southern Farm Show. N.C. State Fairgrounds, Raleigh, N.C.
* February 3. Annual Meeting, Tobacco Growers Association of N.C., Holshouser Bldg.,
N.C. State Fairgrounds. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., ending with lunch (during Southern Farm
Show).

GAP RECERTIFICATION MEETINGS

North Carolina (Flue-Cured)

* January 4, 9 a.m. Martin County Farmers Market, 4001 West Main St., Williamston
NC. Lunch will be provided. DOL and WPS presentations will be at beginning of meeting.
Need 75 labor posters. Contact Al Cochran at al_cochran@ncsu.edu at 252-789-4370.
* January 6, 9 a.m. The Farmer's Market, 1006 Peachtree St., Rocky Mount NC. Contact
Art Bradley at art_bradley@ncsu.edu at-252-614-7815.
* January 10, 9 a.m. Johnston County Extension Center  2736 NC 210 Highway, Smithfield
NC. Contact Bryant Spivey at bryant_spivey@ncsu.edu 919-989-5380.
* January 11, 9 a.m. Wilson County Ag Center, 1806 Goldsboro St. SW, Wilson NC 27893.
Contact Norman Harrell at norman_harrell@ncsu.edu  or 252-237-0111.
* January 12, 8:30 a.m. Forsyth County Extension Center, 1450 Fairchild Rd., Winston
Salem NC. Lunch provided. Contact Tim Hambrick or tim_hambrick@ncsu.edu or 336-703-2857.
* January 13, 8:30 a.m. Granville County Expo Center, 4185 US Highway 15, South 
Oxford NC. Contact Gary Cross at gwcross@ncsu.edu or 919-603-1350.
* January 18, 9 a.m. Wayne County Extension Center, 208 Chestnut St., Goldsboro 
NC. Contact Tyler Whaley at tyler_whaley@ncsu.edu or 919-731-1527.
* January 19, 9 a.m. Lenoir County Shrine Club, 1558 Hwy 70, East Kinston NC. Registration
begins at 8 a.m. Contract Mike Carroll or mike_carroll@ncsu.edu - 252-633-1477.
* January 20, 9 a.m. McSwain Extension Center, 2420 Tramway Rd., Sanford NC. Contact
Zack Taylor at zrtaylor@ncsu.edu. or919-775-5624  3455.
* January 23, 8 a.m. Caswell County Civic Center, 536 Main St., East Yanceyville
 NC. Registration opens at 8 a.m. Meeting will start at 9 a.m.. Lunch will be served.
Contact Joey E. Knight, III at joey_knight@ncsu.edu or 336-694-4158.
* January 24, 9 a.m. Harnett County Government Complex Commons Area 309 W. Cornelius
Harnett Blvd Lillington NC 27546 Registration begins at 8 a.m. Contact Brian Parrish
at brian_parrish@ncsu.edu or 910-8937530.
* January 25, 9 a.m. Sampson County Ag Expo Center 414 Warsaw Rd. Clinton NC. Contact
Della King at della_king@ncsu.edu or 910-592-7161.
* February 3, 1:30 p.m. Holshouser Bld., NC State Fair Grounds, Raleigh NC (in conjunction
with TGANC Annual Meeting during Southern Farm Show). Lunch will be provided. Contact
Matthew Vann at matthew_vann@ncsu.edu or 919-513-0904.


Virginia (Flue-cured)

* January 17, 9 a.m. Southern Piedmont Center, 2375 Darvills Rd., Blackstone VA 
Registration at 8:30 a.m. Contact Lindy Tucker at tucker07@vt.edu or 434-696-5526.
* January 18, 4 p.m. Meherrin River Hunt Club, 435 Dry Creek Rd., South Hill VA.
 Registration at 3:30 p.m. Contact Taylor Clarke at clarke@vt.edu or 434-738-6191.
* January 19, 4 p.m. Olde Dominion Ag Complex  19783 U. S. Highway 29, South Chatham
VA. Registration at 3:30 p.m. Contact Stephen Barts sbarts@vt.edu 434-432-7770  
3459
* January 25, 10 a.m. Scottsburg Volunteer Fire Dept., 3050 Scottsburg Rd., Scottsburg
VA. Registration at 9:30 a.m. Contact Rebecca Slabach at cbrown04@ vt.edu 434-476-2147.
* February 15, 10 a.m. Midway Baptist Ch., Midway Rd., Phenix VA. Registration at
9:30 a.m. Contact Bob Jones at rojones2@vt.edu or 434-542-5884.

Monday, October 31, 2016

A GROWER EFFORT TO REIN IN REGULATION



Who does WHO think it is? Earlier this month, a delegation of members of the International Tobacco Growers Association led by Daniel Green of Springfield, Tn. (above center, wearing plaid shirt and navy jacket), demanded the opportunity to observe WHO deliberations on a tobacco-related treaty. The effort failed but it is hoped the message got across. (Photo provided by ITGA. Note: Just to Green's left is ITGA c.e.o. Antonio Abrunhosa, in tan jacket, dark tie.)

Fighting for tobacco farmers...in India: A delegation of tobacco growers from six countries, including the United States, traveled to Greater Noida, India, recently to be part of demonstrations organized by the International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA) against the World Health Organization, which was holding a meeting of its tobacco treaty ratifying organization. Led by its president Daniel Green, the chief executive officer of Burley Stabilization Corp. of Springfield, Tn., growers demonstrated outside the meeting facility, demanding inclusion in the debate of this and any issues that affect their livelihoods. The farmers were denied a chance to participate and were even detained briefly by the police. 

Why our farmers were there: "We're seeking a civil dialogue about issues that affect more than 30 million farmers and their families around the world. We have repeatedly been denied our right to be heard," said Green, who was assisted by BSC director Barry Bush of Cookeville, Tn. "Growers understand the need for tobacco regulation. But such regulation should be rational and science-based. Instead, we see extreme, emotion-driven proposals that only result in missed opportunities to protect public health and provide alternative economic opportunities to tobacco-dependent farm families and their communities."

Why WHO wouldn't let them in: The head of the UN Tobacco Treaty Secretariat, when asked why tobacco farmers had never been involved in the ratification process, said they didn't belong there! "I have seen the tobacco farmers, and they always try to manipulate," said Vera da Costa e Silva. "Even if they are brought on table, they are not on the table and always think about the profits. [Also] they bribe. So sometimes it's difficult to actually let them participate."

Not surprisingly, the ITGA representatives hit the ceiling, saying Costa e Silva demonstrated a lack of knowledge (and, apparently, any interest) in the plight of farmers. "The U.S. government is the top contributor to the WHO," Green said. "[We have] hundreds of millions of dollars of [Ameri-can] taxpayer money funding an organization that operates undemo-cratically, behind closed doors." Not only did WHO exclude tobacco farmers and other stakeholders from the conference, it also prevented news media from observing the deliberations.

Editor's Note: What is the world coming to if we have international bureaucrats making policy affecting farmers who don't believe farmers should be concerned about making a profit? And the treaty that is causing all this fuss--the the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control--has numerous negative tive implications for your operation. There may be some relief on the horizon: The FCTC has not been ratified by the U.S. yet. Well, let me see what I can do. I will research this topic further and have more for you in my next issue, roughly two weeks from now.

New ITGA leaders: Green was elected president of ITGA in October. Also elected: Reuben Maigwa, Malawi, vice president; Tsveta Filev, Bulgaria, treasurer; and Anthony Neill Ford, Zambia,  chairman, African region.

DATES TO REMEMBER

  • December 1. N.C. Tobacco Day 2016. Johnston County Extension Center, 2736 N.C. Hwy. 210, Smithfield, N.C. Meeting starts at 8:15 a.m. and ends with lunch.
  • January 11-12. S.C. Agribiz and Farm Expo. Florence (S.C.) Civic Center.
  • February 1-3. Southern Farm Show. N.C. State Fairgrounds, Raleigh, N.C.
  • February 3. Annual Meeting, Tobacco Growers Association of N.C., Holshouser Bldg., N.C. State Fairgrounds. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., ending with lunch (during Southern Farm Show).

Editor's note: If you you would like to receive the newsletter at your email address (or change an existing address), please click on "Join our mailing list" below and follow the prompts. For more information, you can call me at 919-789-4631 or email at chrisbickers@gmail.com.--Chris Bickers








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