“You need more than one offer to establish the value of tobacco.”

Dennis White, owner of Old Belt Tobacco Sales in Rural Hall, N.C., said at his auction, tobacco graded below first or second grade generally attracts a higher price at auction than at contract stations.

"We have had some better quality tobacco that sold higher than the contract price.”

So far in the new tobacco auctioning era, auctions are providing an opportunity for better-than-contract pay for some niche styles of tobacco.

"We have received some Chinese style tobacco, and buyers have fought for it," White said. "Good bright leaf has gotten a price advantage here.”

For burley growers, there is another fringe benefit of auctioning: They can deliver their tobacco in small bales.

"The fact that we take small bales is a good selling point," said Jerry Rankin, owner of Farmers Tobacco Warehouse, Danville, Ky.

"Big balers are expensive, and we have many growers who grow only three to six acres and can't afford the expense.
Smith provided the following list of warehouses he knows will hold auctions in 2013, listed by tobacco type.

Burley

Farmers Tobacco Warehouse, Danville, Ky.: Contact Jerry Rankin at 859-319-1400.

Big Burley Warehouse, Lexington, Ky.: Contact manager Darby Montgomery at 859-339-3922.

Clay's Tobacco Warehouse, Mount Sterling, Ky.: Contact Roger Wilson at 859-498-6722.

One more possibility: Kentucky King Warehouse, Maysville, Ky., may also hold auctions this year if there is enough interest. Contact Eldon Ginn at 606-782-2477.
Flue-cured

American Tobacco Exchange in the Growers Warehouse in Wilson, N.C.: Contact Randy Brandon at 252-343-1661 or Todd Adams at 919-369-5356.

Big M Warehouse (formerly Liberty Warehouse), Wilson, N.C.: Contact Big M owner Mann Mullen or warehouse manager Greg Ray at 252-799-6061.

Flue-cured & burley

Piedmont Warehouse, Danville, Va.: Call Jim Eggleston, sales manager, at 434-489-4292.

Old Belt Tobacco Sales in Rural Hall, N.C.: Contact Dennis White at Old Belt Tobacco Sales at 336-416-6262.