Sounds of the auction go high-tech - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sounds of the auction go high-tech

August 6, 2004

Moultrie-- Farming has changed dramatically over the past ten years. When it comes to tobacco auctions, even the voice behind the auction is changing. It's being replaced with a handheld computer device.

Two years ago, you couldn't even keep up with the tobacco auction speedy lingo. But now that's replaced with small talk and a quiet beep. "It's a silent auction now, we auction with the computers," said Marketing Manager Jimmy Henderson.

Wireless computers, called palm pilots. With a push of a button, tobacco companies can bid an extra penny. "It's a different world."

And a world of difference for long time tobacco farmers. "They seem to be taking it pretty well, you know, everybody misses the chant, but you know, but everybody seems to be adapting to it pretty well," said Henderson.

Last year was the guinea pig year, of course, in Georgia you don't need that many palm pilots. There are only two buyers, Diamond International and Export Leaf. And the amount of auctions are dwindling too. "There are only four in Georgia now, Vidallia, Statesboro, Nashville and Moultrie that still have auctions," said Henderson.

So, as the four auctions continue to survive, the old way of auctioning will become a thing of the past. The tobacco auctions will be once a week until mid October.

posted at 5:10PM by dave.miller@walb.com