Tobacco is one crop struggling to keep acres.
At the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky. last week, Ryan Quarles, Kentucky Ag Commissioner, says the cash crop relies heavily on exports. Trade deals continue to scrap tobacco from the mix, taking its toll on acres in the Bluegrass State.
“Historically, tobacco is king in Kentucky,” said Quarles. “At our peak, we had 85,000 different tobacco farms. Now, we have 4,500 people engaged in raising tobacco.”
Quarles says tobacco is very labor-intensive. Most estimates say it requires roughly 250 hours of manual labor for each and every acre of tobacco in Kentucky.