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N.C. Today: Tobacco still growing strong in NC

By Cathy Martin - May 12, 2014 - 4:00:00 pm

North Carolina farmers harvested 181,900 acres of tobacco in 2013, a 10% increase over the year before, and will likely produce even more in 2014, the Wilmington Star-News reports.

Most of N.C.'s tobacco is exported to about 50 countries, including China, where smokers prefer the flavor of U.S.-grown tobacco. Last week, The Wilson Times reported that quality, flue-cured tobacco was in short supply globally last year. Wilson County, which billed itself as the largest bright leaf tobacco market of the world in the early 20th century, ranked third in the state in 2012 flue-cured tobacco production, behind Johnston and Sampson counties.

North Carolina accounted for half of U.S. tobacco production last year, and almost 80% of flue-cured tobacco, according to the N.C. Department of Agriculture.

The federal government passed a law in 2004 changing regulations of U.S. tobacco production. Over the past decade the feds have spent billions of dollars compensating quota owners and farmers who stopped growing the crop.

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