All tobacco area for harvest in 2019 is expected to total 244,040 acres, down 16 per cent from 2018. If realized, this would be the lowest tobacco acres harvested on record, the report said. Flue-cured tobacco, at 165,000 acres, is 17 per cent below 2018 and accounts for 68 percent of this year’s total expected tobacco acreage. The burley portion of light-air cured tobacco, at 53,800 acres, is down 12 per cent from last year, statistics showed.
According to WKMS, Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative General Manager Steve Pratt attributes the decline to a decreasing smoking prevalence, and the rising popularity of vaping. Pratt explained that some tobacco companies last year reduced or cancelled contracts to buy the crop, leading some farmers to either stop growing or switch to other products such as livestock or hemp, WKMS reported.