A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky by Heart: Bobbie Bryant’s Tobacco in the Black Patch brings back childhood memories

The Tobacco barn (Bobbie Smith Bryant photos) By Steve Flairty Special to KyForward I reflected on my youth around the family tobacco farm recently while reading Farming in the Black Patch (Acclaim Press, 2015), by author Bobbie Smith Bryant. The book is a well-done account of Bryant’s family (Smiths and a few others) raising dark-fired tobacco in the westernmost part of Kentucky, called the “Black...

UK economist says tobacco growers without
a contract may run into problems with price

After recording strong prices for their product a year ago, tobacco producers without contracts may see less money this year, economists say (Photo by Tim Thornberry)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   Burley tobacco growers in Kentucky have long been regarded as the best producers of the crop in the world, having the right climate, the right soil and the most knowledge of just...

Folklorist turns conversations with tobacco producers into book about state’s top crop

The structure of the tobacco industry has seen drastic changes in the last decade, as highlighted in a new book by Ann K. Ferrell. (Photo by Tim Thornberry)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   While the art of producing tobacco has changed little over the last couple of centuries, the structure of the tobacco industry has seen drastic changes – especially in the last decade.   How...

2013 Review: Focusing on farming, local foods, agribusiness reflects Ky.’s culture

At KyForward, we have a special understanding of the farmer – and a great appreciation for the role of agriculture in all its forms in our quality of life, including our economy. Our ag writer, Tim Thornberry, brings special insight and expertise to the issue as well. And a special relationship with the UK College of Ag means value-added content for our readers.   Among the topics we’ve...

The Rural Blog: European ban on flavorings in tobacco products likely to hurt U.S. growers

Special to KyForward   A decision this week by the European Parliament could have major implications on the U.S. tobacco business.   The multinational legislature approved new tobacco rules that include a ban on menthol and other flavorings, Juergen Baetz reports for The Associated Press. While the ban still needs to be compromised with the 28 European Union governments before it becomes...

Even in this rough growing year, Kentucky tobacco producers should still get good prices

A tobacco field in Franklin County (Photo by Tim Thornberry)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   Even under the best of circumstances, agricultural markets are difficult to gauge at times, so as the burley tobacco season progresses and producers analyze their crops and how much damage has been done by excessive rains this year, the reality of what this tobacco will do at market...

Growing tobacco is not easy, but it is still
a tradition for many Kentucky farmers

Randy Smither finishes the planting phase of 125 acres of burley tobacco. (Photo by Tim Thornberry)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   Tobacco may not generate the revenue it once did, but Kentucky’s crop is still worth nearly $400 million annually in spite of changes in the market and government regulations. And that number is likely to remain steady and may climb if the...

Tobacco is still hanging in as viable Kentucky crop; state still largest burley producer in U.S.

Setting tobacco in Woodford County (Photo by Tim Thornberry)   By Tim Thornberry KyForward correspondent   In many circles, tobacco is a dirty word. The medical profession wants it outlawed, the federal government wanted regulatory control over it and got it, and opponents want it banned from every U.S. trade agreement that exists.   But despite declines and efforts against it, the tobacco...