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With Days Till Market, Leaves Location is Everything

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WILSON — This summer's hot, humid temperatures are making life miserable for many of us. Tobacco farmers are especially feeling the heat. They're having a rough year, and Mother Nature isn't helping.

It's one of those years when location is everything. You can put a good crop in the ground. But you never know how it's going to turn out. In western Wilson County, the tobacco crop looks good. Just a few miles down the road, yellow weathered stalks are a sign of a lack of rain.

With tobacco markets opening in just a few days, farmers are forced to withstand the heat to pick the leaves that mean $1 billion dollars for the NC economy.

After months of work, preparation and worry, it comes down to the fields for tobacco farmers. With the market set to open next week in many places, farmers are taking the first leaves out of the fields.

Farmers are used to dealing with bad weather, but this year has been unusual. It started wet, too wet in fact, then dried up. And the heat hasn't helped. This year's success may boil down to location. Farmers hit by recent downpours will do well, while dry conditions still exist just miles away.

"Some spots in this community have had more rain than others," explains tobacco farmer Wiley Boyette. "Sunday, for example, three miles down the road we had real good rain. Right here, we only got a tenth."

In Wilson County, the tobacco market is set to open on Wednesday, July 29th.


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