Smaller-scale burley tobacco growers in southwest Virginia will have to consider their next move in light of the closing of a Philip Morris USA receiving station.

Philip Morris has announced to growers it planned to close its Tennessee Valley Tobacco Services facility in Midway, Tenn. The station receives 6 million pounds of burley tobacco a year and brings in roughly $10.5 million to the economies of upper east Tennessee and southwest Virginia.

Burley is a light, air-cured tobacco used primarily for cigarette production.

Lee County grower Jonathan Cavin said Philip Morris has told growers it no longer needs as many burley receiving stations as it once did and hopes to cut operating expenses while still receiving burley at its remaining stations.

Cavin, who grows 85 acres of tobacco annually, is concerned about the potential economic loss for his region and the impact on the 138 southwest Virginia burley growers who contract with Philip Morris parent company Altria.

While he and other larger-scale growers should be fine, Cavin said, growers with only a few acres of tobacco will have to weigh their options.

“They’ll be traveling farther, spending more on fuel, and to make the trip worthwhile they’ll need a full load of tobacco,” he said.