It could be a big blow to one of Kentucky’s largest industries.
Many tobacco farmers across the area have been receiving letters saying their product would no longer be needed, due to the changing demographics of smokers.
Farmers who have been growing tobacco for Phillip Morris U.S.A. and P.M. International are among those who have received letters.
One Lexington tobacco farmer says losing his contract came as a major shock.
“Normally on my farm I raise 80-85 acres of tobacco,” Todd Clark said. “This year I’m down to 35 acres.”
Tobacco acreage across central Kentucky has drastically been reduced as the demand for cigarettes goes down.
27 NEWSFIRST contacted Altria, the parent company of Phillip Morris U.S.A. An spokesperson told us the company is not decreasing its presence, but the tobacco grown in central Kentucky is not the type needed for smokeless tobacco.
The company sales smokeless tobacco sales are increasing, while cigarette sales are decreasing.
“We have been producing around 350-400 million dollars of tobacco in recent years. We’ll probably be down 300-350 million this coming year,” says UK Agriculture Economist William Snell.
Snell adds that tobacco will likely continue to decline in the domestic market and in the future 75% of the crop will be exported.
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