Weather, Price Weed Out More Western NC Burley Tobacco Farmers

It's a tough year for burley-tobacco farmers in North Carolina's mountain counties.

The costs of fuel, fertilizer and labor are high, while the selling price of burley is lower than what it once was.

This year's drought has also hurt the current crop.

Over the past 10 years, the production of burley tobacco in North Carolina has steadily declined.

Recently, many farmers in the western part of the state are taking federal buyouts and moving into organic vegetables or other crops.

Burley tobacco is added to cigarette blends with other varieties of tobacco.

It used to be the driving economic force for the region. After the federal tobacco buyout, some farmers who had always grown flue-cured tobacco began experimenting with burley, and some continue to do so. But that has not nearly made up for the sharp decline in burley growers in the mountains.