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TexasDude's avatar

What should I know about small-scale tobacco farming?

Asked by TexasDude (25249points) February 22nd, 2011

For some reason, I’m kind of interested in growing tobacco for fun and educational purposes on a small scale at some point. I do have a few questions and concerns.

-I know that there are a lot of weird laws out there. Are there any laws against growing tobacco for personal use? Like an excise tax, or something of that nature?

-How do you cure tobacco? How long does it take, and what materials are necessary? Do you know of any resources (books, websites, etc.) that address this?

-How much space is required?

Also, tell me about your tobacco growing experiences (or just farming in general) if you have them.

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10 Answers

Judi's avatar

I heard (rumor) that the tabaco industry was almost mafia like. Don’t grow to much or they will crush you.

JilltheTooth's avatar

I found this and a few other sites by entering “books about growing tobacco” into Google.

incendiary_dan's avatar

@Judi I’m pretty sure every big business is mafia-like, so that’s probably a safe bet.

See if you can find plants that cooperate with tobacco. That way you’ll likely increase growth, get more per square foot because of the other crops, and likely require less watering and fertilizing.

bkcunningham's avatar

First of all @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard it is hard, physical work to grow tobacco. In the US, the federal government has controlled tobacco growers since 1938. Where I’m from tobacco growers call these allotments from the government.

That meant the government told these farmers with allotments (really a license) how much acerage was allowed for growing tobacco. Just like farms are handed down through families, the tobacco allotments went through generations of farmers.

You have to first get the seeds. Then you cultivate the seeds and transplant the seeds into your field. You have to know when to “top” the suckers or flowers from the plants and how to handle many forms of mold, fungus and tobacco pests.

I remember when tobacco was cut, bundled by the stalks, hung and cured in barns. Now when you go through the tobacco fields in Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia and North Carolina, you see these little buildings, sorta like trailers, where they flue or fire cure the tobacco much faster than the old hanging manner in barns.

There have been some recent changes in the laws governing tobacco and allotments and to be honest, I’m not personally familiar with these laws. The only thing I know is what I’ve read. The tobacco farmers I know personally got out of the business a few years back as the government kept getting more and more involved in the auction process.

marinelife's avatar

Here is a Web site with the practical steps.

mammal's avatar

and of course learning to roll the cigars on your naked virgin thighs ;)

Coloma's avatar

You need to prepare for tobacco worm infestations and, for effect, wear tall boots and ride around your mini plantation on a mule with a cigar in your mouth.

Looking the part of gentleman farmer is very important!

TexasDude's avatar

@Judi, molon labe, from my cold dead hands, etc. But thanks for the warning ;)

@JilltheTooth, cool, that book looks great! Thanks for the link!

@incendiary_dan I didn’t even think of that. I’ve grown vegetables, fruits, herbs, etc. before and I wonder what would be a complimentary crop to tobacco? I’ll be sure and do some research.

@bkcunningham, so even if I grew a minimal amount of tobacco for personal use, I’d still have to get an allotment from the goobermint? Thanks for the information, though.

@marinelife, that’s a cool website. Apparently, it is legal to grow tobacco privately for non-commercial purposes. I’m feeling empowered now :D

@mammal, who says my thighs are virgin? ;-D

@Coloma, you mean like this?

Coloma's avatar


You got it goin’ on there, just leave the riding crop and spurs at home.
You can’t quite bring the whole fantasy to fruition as the evil overseer. lol

TexasDude's avatar

@Coloma, haha… I don’t have an evil bone in my body, but that’s not to say I can’t be dominant…

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