Thursday, November 19, 2015

COULD BRAZIL'S BAD WEATHER BRING SUPPLY BACK IN LINE WITH DEMAND?

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Boxes of burley await shipment from storage at the Burley Stabilization Corporation headquarters in Springfield, Tn. A leaf executive suggested earlier this month that the supply situation for both burley and flue-cured may be reaching balance. (File photo)

The oversupply may be disappearing. "As a result of the recent heavy rains and hail in southern Brazil from an El Nino weather pattern, we have reduced production projections for both flue-cured and burley in that country by about eight percent," said George Freeman, chief executive officer of Universal in a press release on November 5. "The same weather pattern may also affect Africa, decreasing rainfall and impacting crop sizes and quality. We believe that the combination of this weather pattern and reduced plantings in some origins will bring (leaf) markets largely into balance in fiscal year 2017."

The debate over TPP drags: President Barack Obama notified Congress, also on November 5, of his intent to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the wide-ranging trade agreement negotiated among the United States and 11 other Pacific Rim countries...and which has been controversial in the South because it specifically excludes tobacco from its conflict resolution protocols. 

It must still be ratified by Congress, and tobacco state legislators pledged to oppose it. "Once we allow an entire sector to be treated unfairly in trade agreements, then the question is who's next?" said Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) His colleague Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.), contended that it is not a free trade deal for North Carolina. "Now that we have more details about TPP, it is abundantly clear that President Obama and his allies have stacked the deck against N.C. agriculture," he said. "I  won't accept any deal that puts our farmers at a disadvantage." 

Negotiations on TPP have taken seven years so far, and they are likely to take a while longer. The agreement cannot be voted on in this country until 90 days have passed since Obama's letter. That would put the ratification debate right in the middle of the presidential campaign. The other countries participating in TPP negotiations are Japan, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Singapore, New Zealand, Mexico, Australia, Peru,  Brunei, Chile and Canada. Other countries could petition to be included later.

Energy tobacco goes into pilot production: Tyton BioEnergy Systems of Danville, Va., will work with only a small number of farmers to produce "energy tobacco" for 2016 but expects to deal with many more once its new extractors in Raeford, N.C., and other locations in Virginia and N.C. are  complete, says Conor Hartman, a Tyton vice president. This season, most of its farmers are in fairly close proximity to Danville where the company has a pilot extractor. Note: If you contacted Tyton after TFN's earlier story (September II 2015), your name has been entered into the company's database for possible future contracts.

An automatic curing controller based on traditional curing methods is now available from Rotem Control & Management Systems. The RTDC Tobacco Barn Curing Controller allows a flue-cured grower to automatically control the temperature, humidity and moisture levels in a barn using a dry bulb,  with monitoring of all aspects of curing. For more information, contact Chad Honeycutt with Britt Technical  Service at 910 214-1301.

Kentucky's new ag commissioner has a familiar name. Part of a well-known burley-growing family, Ryan Quarles was elected Kentucky agriculture commissioner in November. He had been a member of the state Senate. A native of Georgetown in the Bluegrass, he will replace Republican James Comer, who unsuccessfully ran for governor. Quarles is the son of Roger Quarles, former president of the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association. A proponent of diversification, he noted during the campaign that his grandfather grew hemp during World War II. "I think Kentucky is well-positioned to be a leader if industrial hemp takes off, which I think it will," he said. He also is optimistic about canola and hops in the Kentucky.

DATES TO REMEMBER
  • December 3. N.C. Tobacco Day 2015. Johnston County Extension Center, 2736 N.C. Hwy. 210, Smithfield, N.C. Starting time to be announced but the meeting will end with a sponsored lunch.
Editor: Chris Bickers  | Bickers Editing Service | 903-9 Shellbrook Ct. | Raleigh NC 27609  | PH: 919-789-4631 

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