There was a little optimism from north of the border too. Retired Ontario tobacco farmer Larry DeCarolis of Waterville, Ontario, was one of a number of the Canadian farmers who attended the show.

Formerly a tobacco grower, DeCarolis said the new tobacco marketing system in Canada has been working quite well since the buyout there in 2008.

DeCarolis was looking for ideas for family members who are still growing tobacco, but there was definitely some sticker shock.

“I priced kilns (barns) here, and they are up to $40,000 now,” he said. “It would be hard to justify a purchase that large in the situation we have now.”

But the tobacco infrastructure isn't as old in Canada as it is in the United States, said DeCarolis, so replacing it isn't as urgent.

The Upper Southeast's love affair with cotton is cooling. According to the National Cotton Council planting intentions survey ―released shortly after the Southern Farm Show ―cotton acreage this season will be just under 400,000 in North Carolina. That would be a third less than in 2012.

South Carolina acreage is projected at 265,000 acres, 11 percent less than 2012.

And Virginia acreage is projected at 62,000, down 28 percent from a year ago.

Survey participants who were reducing cotton planting told the NCC that in general they are shifting to corn and soybeans, with soybeans more heavily favored as the alternative, the council said. Where participants indicated an increase in cotton acres, the land appeared most frequently to come from peanuts.

chrisbickers@gmail.com

 

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