Lowndes County - The tobacco harvest is underway in South Georgia, and growers are hoping their yield will measure up to year's pasts. This season looked promising, but excessive rain and blue mold have taken a toll on the crop.
Farmers hope to harvest about two thousand pounds per acre, but most have been averaging eighteen hundred pounds an acre. Once cured, some farmers choose to sell to contractors who pay a set price.
"Most folks are averaging more the bottom line has been the last three years, it brings home more money," said Fred Wetherington.
While most tobacco farmers now sell their crops to contractors, others still prefer to take their chances at an auction. Tobacco auctions, however, are on the decline.
Buyers and farmers at the Planters Warehouse in Nashville welcome this new computer system which makes each transaction more efficient. Each buyer places his bid into a wireless Palm Pilot that lists the grade and price of the tobacco.
"The warehouse owner tells us how much above that price he wants to start and we start at a top end and it falls gradually about a cent a second," said Jimmy Henderson.
There are four tobacco auction locations in Georgia; Vidalia, Statesboro, Moultrie and Nashville. All use the new Palm Pilot system.