Will the final price of the current crop bring back pleasant memories of 2004? Daniel Green, chief executive officer of Burley Stabilization Corporation (BSC), told Tobacco Farmer Newsletter that his organization has increased its price for 2012 contracted tobacco, with leaf graded T1 now priced at $2.08 a pound.A year ago, that grade was priced at $1.87 (including moisture adjustment). "This will finally bring many grower averages above prices they received under the old tobacco program," he said. "Our hope is this will generate interest in growing more burley in 2013." The shortage of flavor burley won't be filled overnight. Green said that with an aging grower population and attractive prices for alternative crops, addressing the supply problem is going to take a while. BSC has opened its doors to excess production from this crop and is looking to contract more in 2013. It has already accepted a significant amount of 2012 leaf after opening its doors on October 15. That was a month earlier than normal, a response to requests from growers who cure their crop much earlier than the traditional opening dates. "But we can see that we will have some very late deliveries too," said Green. "I expect we will continue receiving until at least March 1." The best quality flue-cured crop in a long time: Tommy Bunn, president of U.S. Tobacco Cooperative (USTC) said at the organization's annual meeting. "It was bright and clear leaf and one of the cleanest crops we have had," he said. "Our farmers did a great job of bringing it to market." Better still, much of it was the bright leaf the cooperative's customers are looking for. But the weight was down. "Bright tobacco generally does not yield as much as richer, darker tobacco," he said. "The yield per acre is down by perhaps a few 100 pounds, and we (USTC) are short." As a result, the cooperative is accepting excess production from its contracting farmers in certain grades, especially those in the "Chinese" style. But the cooperative still needs to substantially expand contracts for 2013, USTC chairman Albert Johnson of Gallivants's Ferry, S.C., said. "We need our current members to expand their contract pounds, and we need new members that will sign marketing contracts for enough production to satisfy our customers needs." Growers in all flue-cured states are welcome to participate, he said. I have learned of two more burley warehouses that are holding burley auctions this season: --Clay's Tobacco Warehouse, Mt. Sterling, Ky. For information, call Roger Wilson at 859-498-6722. --Big Burley, Lexington, Ky. For information, call Darby Montgomery at his cell number, 859-339-3922 or his office number 859-233-9944. One other possibility: Eldon Ginn may conduct auctions at the Kentucky King warehouse in Maysville, Ky. But a decision had not been made as this was written. He can be reached at his office number 606-564-4242 or at his cell number 606-782-2477.