They aren't very promising for burley, say Extension economists at the University of Kentucky. Tumbling U.S. demand will likely lead to additional reductions in contract volume for 2019. The value of Kentucky tobacco production (all types) may struggle to exceed $300 million in 2018 compared to the average of $366 million over the past 10 years.
Effect on farmers?Look for continued concentration in the number of burley farms growing tobacco in 2019, given the current outlook, labor and regulatory challenges, changes in the products demand-ed and tighter margins.
Reduced contracting coupled with an extremely poor growing season resulted in a significantly lower volume of burley. Beltwide, marketings in 2018 may struggle to exceed 100 million pounds, versus 140 milllion pounds in 2017.
To make the situation worse, even though global demand for burley is declining, world production was up by 15 percent last year. Overall demand for U.S. burley may only total around 100 to 110 million pounds given declines of four to five percent in domestic cigarette sales and five to seven percent in burley leaf exports. Cigarette manufacturers continue to invest in new reduced risk tobacco products, and these products likely contain limited amounts of U.S. leaf.
And the market for dark tobacco may finally be declining. After two decades of growth, sales of snuff show signs of leveling off, which can be expected to hinder dark tobacco demand.
Don't use plastic tarps when you transport tobacco, says Don Fowlkes, agronomist for the Burley Stabilization Corporation. "These tarps easily fray and become non-tobacco-related material in or on your tobacco," he says. "Farm supply stores carry canvas tarps that do not pose the same level of risk." Canvas tarps also last longer and protect better than plastic tarps, he adds.
Record low flue-cured production? A reduction in contract offerings for flue-cured is considered all but certain by market observers, and the Executive Vice President of the N.C tobacco growers association, Graham Boyd, predicted out right at N.C. Tobacco Day that the 2019 crop will be the smallest American flue-cured crop since records were kept. The 2018 burley crop is believed to have been the smallest on record.
More opposition to menthol ban. Senator Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), joined a number of tobacco state leaders objecting to FDA's proposed ban on menthol in cigarettes. "The FDA must remain committed to using a science-based regulatory framework in order to effectively reduce risks and minimize collateral damage that would ultimately limit options available to adults seeking an alternative to smoking," he said.
GAP GROWER TRAINING EVENTS
Check with your local Extension Service office for further details.
All meetings listed here are free and presented in English.
January 7, 9 a.m. Wilson, N.C.
January 8, 9 a.m. Winston Salem, N.C.
January 9, 9 a.m. Rocky Mount, N.C.
January 10, 9 a.m. Carthage, N.C.
January 11, 9 a.m. Smithfield, N.C.
January 15, 9 a.m. Yanceyville, N.C.
January 15, 9 a.m. Blackstone, Va.
January 15, 5 p.m. Mayfield, Ky.
January 15, 5 p.m. Albany, Ky.
January 16, 9 a.m. Williamston, N.C.
January 17, 8:30 a.m. Oxford, N.C.
January 17, 4 p.m. South Chatham, Va..
January 18, 9 a.m. Lumberton, N.C.
January 22, 9 a.m. Lillington, N.C.
January 22, 5:30 p.m. Dixon, Ky.
January 23, 9 a.m. Yadkinville, N.C.
January 23, 9 a.m. Dover, Tn.
January 23, 4 p.m. South Hill, Va.
January 24, 9 a.m. Clinton, N.C.
January 24, 10 a.m. Sutherlin, Va.
January 25, 8 a.m. Kinston, N.C.
January 28, 9 a.m. Calhoun, Ky.
January 29, 9 a.m. Goldsboro, N.C.
January 31, 6 p.m. Lancaster, Ky.
February 1, 1:30 p.m. Raleigh, N.C.
February 5, 10:30 a.m. Springfield, Tn.
February 7, 6 p.m. Cynthiana, Ky.
February 8, 9 a.m. New Castle, Ky.
February 8, 1 p.m. Shelbyville, Ky
February 11 1 p.m. Scottsburg, In.
February 11, 6 p.m. Vevay, In.
February 12, 6 p.m. Cadiz, Ky.
February 19, 4:30 p.m. Franklin, Ky.
February 25, 5 p.m. Clarksville, Tn.
February 28, 6 p.m. Maysville, Ky.
March 1, 1 p.m. Paoli, In.
March 19, 6 p.m. Glasgow, Ky.
DATES TO REMEMBER