Tobacco Farming

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FurCoat

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Sep 21, 2020
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North Carolina
I have mentioned before that I live surrounded by farm fields. Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to be working from home when the plows showed up to tend the surrounding fields. I stepped out and went across the street to talk to the farmer for a bit. We had a pleasant conversation especially about the state of farming and in particular tobacco farming in the area. I was more than excited to find out tobacco was going to be grown this year. This particular farmer has his own farm land and leases parcels. The sad part is that he has lost 20 leases in the past 18 months to development and according to him, he may not be able to continue farming for more than a few more years. My county is the largest producer of flue cured tobacco (according to 3 year old demographics) in the state and this gentleman is probably one of the last tobacco farmers in the area. So for now, I do not have houses sprouting up around me and I get to enjoy watching the tobacco grow as I have for so many years, though I fear this may be coming to an end. On a good note, I got invited to be at the curing barns when the curing process is done this year and he is letting me have some leaf. I'll post some pictures throughout the year as the crops progress.
 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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Helena, Alabama
I got invited to be at the curing barns when the curing process is done
Curing barns? For a flue cured tobacco?
Interesting. Have you seen these flue curing barns? I was under the understanding that most used those large industrial kilns that can precisely flue cure and color cure. I would love to see pictures of these barns. I wonder what heat sources they are using. Damn, I wish I could go visit also. I have so many questions.
 

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woodsroad

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Oct 10, 2013
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Curing barns? For a flue cured tobacco?
Interesting. Have you seen these flue curing barns? I was under the understanding that most used those large industrial kilns that can precisely flue cure and color cure. I would love to see pictures of these barns. I wonder what heat sources they are using. Damn, I wish I could go visit also. I have so many questions.
 
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FurCoat

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Sep 21, 2020
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North Carolina
That's what I was thinking of. I just didn't know that they called these barns. I have seen them where they are just rows and rows of these things that look like large dishwashers that they hang leaves inside of.
When I hear barn, I think of the old style.
The ones around here look like structures in the last pics. I call it a barn for lack of a better term.
 

mso489

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Feb 21, 2013
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Up close and personal, what a great opportunity, and good for the farmer to give you the access, and for you for taking an interest. Since we're in the same part of the world, I'll be especially interested. My late wife grew up in Kinston near her grandparents' tobacco farm in nearby Dover, N.C., and she pitched in sticking tobacco (putting the leaf on sticks with twine to hang in the tobacco barn). I look forward to the update on our status in the tobacco belt.
 

woodsroad

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Oct 10, 2013
8,714
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That's what I was thinking of. I just didn't know that they called these barns. I have seen them where they are just rows and rows of these things that look like large dishwashers that they hang leaves inside of.
When I hear barn, I think of the old style.



Brand new, special and unique
Bring the new, replace the antique
-Stan Ridgway
 

FurCoat

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Sep 21, 2020
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North Carolina
Up close and personal, what a great opportunity, and good for the farmer to give you the access, and for you for taking an interest. Since we're in the same part of the world, I'll be especially interested. My late wife grew up in Kinston near her grandparents' tobacco farm in nearby Dover, N.C., and she pitched in sticking tobacco (putting the leaf on sticks with twine to hang in the tobacco barn). I look forward to the update on our status in the tobacco belt.
I lived in Kinston in the early eighties. I hate to say it but farming and especially tobacco is soon to be a thing of the past. I really look forward to having a better understanding of this patr of our states history.
 

cosmicfolklore

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Aug 9, 2013
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Helena, Alabama
It's not just tobacco farmland being turned into planned neighborhoods. My little 20 acres is now surrounded by neighborhoods. All crops are at risk. People keep cranking out as many babies as they can, and now we gotta loose farmland to make houses for these hungry mouths. And, people don't want to live in huge cities, so they all move out to the country, where they turn the damned country into another huge city. Growing houses makes a farmer a hell of a lot more money than any other crop will.
 

mso489

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Feb 21, 2013
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For over thirty years, I commuted from Raleigh to Research Triangle Park through mostly farmland in the early days, first on the then brand-new I-40, and for longer, on Rte. 70. At first I-40 was like my private highway, very light traffic, then it quickly became a crowded chariot race. Over the years, I saw the tobacco farms slowly melting, tobacco barns dismantled for seasoned lumber, "old friend" horses, mules and burros trailered elsewhere. At one point when construction was heavy, I saw a canid creature straggling along the churned up shoulder -- and I quickly eliminated dog or wolf, and realized I was looking at a coyote, its shoulder hair all frizzed up in disgust.

Cosmic, supposedly the birthrate is below replacement, and has slumped even further during the pandemic, but it's true you wouldn't know from the invasion of development.
 
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FurCoat

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Sep 21, 2020
2,448
18,204
North Carolina
The tobacco seedlings were planted today. This is the view from my front yard. The tree line is where the crick and pond are at and beyond that the field goes about another mile to the main road.20210504_184601.jpg The scene is repeated behind my house. I grew up around tobacco fields and took it for granted that things would never change, but now I'm taking in as much as I can knowing that I'm witnessing the end of a way of life in my little corner of the world.
 

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