SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (AP) — It's harvest time in much of the nation's tobacco patches and this year's harvest is expected to be among the smallest in at least a decade.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says farmers are expected to produce 726 million pounds of tobacco.
That's up 1 percent from 2010, but down nearly 28 percent from a decade ago when more than 991 million pounds made its way into cigarettes and other products.
Tax hikes, bans, health concerns and social stigma have driven a decline in cigarette sales, but the drop is less stark outside the U.S. Growing markets like Asia are offsetting worldwide declines and contributing greatly to U.S. exports.
Still, experts say this season could be crucial in determining whether tobacco farmers stay in the dwindling and costly business.
To comment, the following rules must be followed:
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content, but the station is under no legal obligation to do so.
If you believe a comment violates the above rules, please use the Flagging Tool to alert a Moderator.
Flagging does not guarantee removal.
Multiple violations may result in account suspension.
Decisions to suspend or unsuspend accounts are made by Station Moderators.
Questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please provide detailed information.
All comments must adhere to the WSAW.com discussion rules.