Tim Yarbrough, a flue-cured grower in Prospect Hill, North Carolina, is worried that there may be an imbalance between tobacco demand and tobacco supply.

“I hope we are not looking at an oversupply situation. Soft demand and too much tobacco would be a ‘perfect storm’ leading to a much lower price,” said Yarbrough, the new president of the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina.

Earlier in March, Yarbrough, who farms with his brother Kenneth, planned to increase acreage but no more than a 5-percent increase. They might have considered more but suitable land isn't available.

Contract prices were reasonably attractive at the beginning of March. “It's been $2.25 on the high end, with lugs in the $1.65 to $1.75 range,” he said.

The Yarbrough family grows all flue-cured now, but in the years since the program ended, they have tried their hands at burley and dark. The experiments weren't successful. “The yield on both was too low to be profitable,” Yarbrough said.

That may have been because of the soil type. “We are on the sandy side of Caswell County,” he said.

By the way, there is a lot of flue-cured history in Yarbrough’s area. The bright curing process was invented just 20 miles away on the Slade Farm north of Yanceyville.

Yarbrough is trying out a new variety this year with the goal of keeping his curing barns productive as much as he can.