Sunday, September 10, 2000

Farmers need more help to harvest tobacco crop

The Associated Press

        PADUCAH — Some western Kentucky farmers are having a difficult time finding seasonal workers to help harvest their tobacco.

        So far about 66 percent of the burley tobacco crop had been cut by Saturday, the Kentucky Agricultural Statistics Service reported. This time last year 65 percent of the crop had been cut, the service said.

        The five-year average for burley is 47 percent. Dark tobacco is below average with 56 percent reported cut, compared with 72 percent last year and a five-year average of 59 percent.

        Freddie Carpenter, a Ballard County farmer, said he's had a shortage of workers to help cut his 10 acres of burley.

        “I've cut my black (dark-fired) tobacco first, because I could do it myself,” Mr. Carpenter said. “I'm just getting started on the burley because I can't find any help.”

        Bill Green, Graves County agricultural extension agent, said 50 percent to 60 percent of the tobacco crop there has been cut. “That's about normal,” he said.


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