Tobacco Asia

Volume 20, Number 3

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52 tobaccoasia / Issue 3, 2016 July / August Independent Leaf Suppliers: Kentucky, Bulgaria, Laos Harvested leaves hanging in a barn for initial drying Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association: from the motherland of tobacco Tobacco growing certainly has a very rich history in the US, with commercial cultivation in the Virginias, the Carolinas, and other places along the Eastern Seaboard having started as far back as the early pre-revolutionary times, when these ter- ritories were still under British rule. Further states like Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, and oth- ers eventually also joined the bandwagon as to- bacco became an ever more valuable commodity. This long history of course bestowed local grow- ers and processors with a tremendous amount of expertise and makes American tobaccos some of the finest available in the world today. Based in Lexington, Kentucky, the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association (BT- GCA) was founded in 1922 and currently has ap- proximately 4,000 members. "The primary purpose of [BTGCA] is to work on behalf of our members to promote, foster, and encourage the business of marketing tobacco, to minimize speculation and waste in the production and marketing of tobacco, to stabilize tobacco markets, and to handle cooperatively and collec- tively the problems of tobacco growers," explains the association's general manager, Steve Pratt. Part of our ongoing series on independent leaf suppliers, TOBACCO ASIA is venturing to opposite ends of the globe, introducing a cooperative in Kentucky as well as what is called the first privately operated leaf processor in Laos. We also stop by Bulgaria to take a closer look at one of the country's internationally successful leaf trading companies. By Thomas Schmid (Images courtesy of Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association)

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