N.C. tobacco auctions open amid concerns for future
Annual tobacco auctions opened in North Carolina Tuesday amid concerns the farming tradition may be coming to an end if the nation's largest cigarette maker revives a plan to buy the golden leaf directly from farmers in the future.
North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Jim Graham said he expects Philip Morris, the nation's largest tobacco company, to press ahead with a proposal to contract tobacco production directly from farmers, forcing other major tobacco companies to follow suit.
"It's a tradition that's fading fast," Graham said as he strolled through bales of tobacco lined up for auction at the Carolina Tobacco Warehouse in Lumberton, N.C. "There's no doubt in my mind, I believe it's (production's) going to contract. That seems to be the trend in commodities."