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Tobacco Farmers Struggle With Bad Weather

Tobacco plants flowering in a field before a storm

As we patiently await warmer days everyone here at Best Cigar Prices can’t help but wonder, has this cold weather had a negative effect on tobacco farms? While we can’t say it has had much impact on the main countries where cigar tobacco comes from, we can say it has in the United States.

In Pittsylvania County, Virginia, this cold weather has indeed been hurting tobacco farmers. Because temperatures have been below average a lot of farmers are paying more to heat their greenhouses. Keeping a greenhouse heated is not a common concern this time of year. Several farmers, including tobacco farmer Timothy Shelton, said they have already exceeded their annual gas funds used to maintain warmer temperatures in the greenhouses. Shelton told wset.com that his production cost will be about 30% to 50% over last year.

“We are hoping it is 70 degrees at night and 80 degrees in the daytime and everybody can enjoy the warmth, including tobacco plants,” Shelton told WSET TV.

Tobacco farming is no easy task. This copious practice involves a lot of labor and requires dedication, time and patience. Battling the natural elements is a tough part of the job. There’s always the possibility of drought drying up crops, frostbite, hail damage and even sun damage.

When Hurricane Irene slammed into the East Coast back in 2011 the storm cost tobacco farmers in the United States $114 million. Because of the sustained winds and rain from Hurricane Irene tobacco crops were extremely vulnerable since they were still in the fields. Rain and wind tore leaves from plants making each less valuable come harvest time. A lot of plants even drowned because of the wet weather.

Each year is different for farmers, there are good years and then there are bad years. Besides a bit of cold weather, this year’s tobacco crops are looking good so far. Keep your fingers crossed that the weather cooperates!