Major cigarette maker cuts back - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Major cigarette maker cuts back

March 15, 2004

Colquitt County - As more cities and counties consider going smoke free, tobacco farmers are becoming more worried. Recently, a major cigarette company in North Carolina cut leaf orders by nearly half.

Aldine Hart has a voice in the tobacco industry. He runs an auction, but also grows tobacco. Hart says, "We have the best tobacco growing right here."

Next week his 55 acres of dirt will turn into tobacco leafs. He just picked up a few more acres from farmers who gave up. Hart explains why, "Tobacco, like everything else, there's just not enough money in it used to be at one time."

Hart adds the already dwindling tobacco industry is getting beat in the ground. He says, "Anytime we get a cut it's going to affect some."

The latest pinch, giant cigarette maker RJ Reynolds is cutting contracts with tobacco farmers. To name a few products, they make Winston, Camel and Salem. This means American growers may have to look elsewhere to sell. Hart says, "Hopefully we can pick up some business from other countries."

The positive outlook, those farmers who were rejected by RJ Reynolds may end up selling in auctions.

Like many tobacco growers, Hart would like to see more selling overseas, than buying overseas.

Store owners hope cigarette prices will not go up after RJ Reynolds cuts back from ordering tobacco leafs.

posted at 6:10PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com