tobacco farmers

Pennyroyal Area Museum, Facebook

At the turn of the 20th century, farmers from 35 counties in western Kentucky and Tennessee known as the "black patch" were involved in a war against the American Tobacco Company monopoly, known as the Black Patch Tobacco Wars. On Sounds Good, Tracy Ross speaks with Alissa Keller, Executive Director of the Museums of Historic Hopkinsville-Christian County about the 4th Annual Tobacco War Pilgrimage on September 25 and 26, with reenactments, a book panel, an expert conversation and the Trial of the Night Riders.


This spring’s wet weather may have a detrimental effect on the fall’s tobacco crop.

Calloway County Agriculture Extension Agent Matt Chadwick says most farmers set their plants before Memorial Day, but this year many are on a late schedule. He also says the tobacco that has been set has suffered some damage from recent storms.

Kids under 18 can't buy cigarettes in the U.S., but they can legally work in tobacco fields when they're as young as 12.

One of those kids is Eddie Ramirez, 15, who works the fields in the summer.

"It just sticks to my hand," he says of the plant. "It's really sticky, you know, and really yellow." It's nearly impossible to wash off, he says.

Kentucky author  and Calloway County native Bobbie Smith Bryant holds a talk about the social and cultural experience of life on the farm at Calloway County Public Library. Her two books are Passions of the Black Patch: Cooking & Quilting in Western Kentucky and Forty Acres & A Red Belly Ford: The Smith Family of Calloway County. She previews her talk today on Sounds Good.

Cut to Federal Tobacco Subsidy Funds Looms for KY Farmers

Nov 13, 2013

2014 may be a year of uncertainty for Kentucky’s farmers.

Last November, a new documentary about raising dark-fired tobacco titled “Farming in the Black Patch" debuted in Murray. The film starts its first run on KET at 8 p.m. Central tonight, with shows scheduled through March on both KET and KET KY. The name Black Patch comes from the dark leaves of the kind of tobacco that's smoke-cured in barns and used for pipe blends, chewing, and snuff. Kate Lochte has more with the filmmaker and writer. 

Wikimedia Commons

For burley tobacco farmers in Kentucky and Tennessee, an average crop being forecast is a big relief. A few weeks ago, the crop was on the brink of ruin from extreme heat and drought.Now, tobacco specialists say much of the burley has gone through a growth spurt, thanks to recent rains.Farmers are just beginning to harvest tobacco.University of Kentucky agricultural economist Will Snell says that with a decent curing season, this year's burley crop could fetch higher prices than a year ago.