Burley Tobacco Crop Expected To Improve This Season

Burley tobacco buyers say they expect a good crop out of western North Carolina this season, even though the number of burley farmers has been cut in half in the past year.

Marty Owen owns and operates the Dixie Big Burley tobacco warehouse in Asheville. He says he expects local growers to sell about two (m) million pounds, up from one-point-four million last year. Ray Anders of Planters Tobacco Warehouse in Asheville plans to buy about half of it, up from 600-thousand pounds last year.

Owen opened his warehouse today and Anders is scheduled to start up business Saturday. The buyout of the federally regulated tobacco program two years ago put the industry in turmoil. Since last fall, about half of the mountain region's four-thousand growers have quit the business.