Local tobacco farmers say this year's crop is not looking as good as last year's, and that’s bad news for farmers who rely on a good crop to help pay the bills.
The federal government's tobacco quota has been cut yet again, this time by 11 percent. That means farmers will have a tougher time making ends meet because they can't grow as much of their signature product.
Fred Wetherington, a tobacco farmer, says, "It's the same issue we've faced for the last several years. As we lose more and more quota and more production, our fixed cost still don't change our overhead."
There is some good news for local tobacco farmers: rain. In the past few weeks, this area has finally gotten the rain it’s needed, and the tobacco crops are finally responding.
Farmers say despite all the recent rains we've seen across south Georgia, it may not be enough to overcome some of the major obstacles that are facing this year's crop.
Wetherington adds, "We certainly can't expect the crop we had last year, but we are encouraged by this rain that we're finally gotten over the past few days and hopefully that will make a decent crop out of what's in the field."
The farmers are concerned about the growing number of plants infected with the tomato spotted wilt virus, which could further reduce the usable size of these crops. Challenges that will likely plague the rest of this growing season.
Farmers say the tobacco crops in north Florida are already being cropped, and south Georgia will follow suit in about two week. That's when farmers really find out the quality of their crops.