Number Of NC Tobacco Farmers Drop, Farm Size Grows

The number of tobacco farms in North Carolina is shrinking, but the growers who remain are planting more crops.

The News & Observer of Raleigh ( ) obtained figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that show 1,682 tobacco farms in North Carolina in 2012. Ten years ago, there were nearly 8,000 tobacco farms in the state.

A lot of farmers stopped growing tobacco after tobacco price support and quota programs ended 10 years ago. That program caused farm owners to consolidate. Agriculture statistics show the average tobacco farm in North Carolina is now 100 acres, more than four times the size of the average farm a decade ago.

The tobacco farmers who remain are keeping a careful eye on the rise of e-cigarette, which don't require tobacco.