Tobacco Asia

Volume 20, Number 2

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Page 54 of 67

tobaccoasia 55 • Double your resource value • Use 100% expanded fine- cut for MYO and RYO • Untouchable product quality • Impex – pressure/vacuum technology • DIET - Dry Ice Expansion Technology AircoDIET has supplied more than 55 DIET plants worldwide, many of which have been turn-key. We continuously develop and refine the DIET process and our DIET plants have above 95% uptime with a dry yield better than 98.5% through the plant. Over 100% tobacco expansion positioning and reputation. We now have the best growers and the best flue-cured tobacco." Because many buyers are still not aware of what USTC does and all of the intrinsic value that is in its tobacco, the group is reshaping perceptions of itself and the U.S. flue-cured tobacco crop as a whole, he says. "That is why we are in the process of re- positioning our company and engaging with large multinational manufacturers." There has been some encouraging feedback. "As we listen to what major leaf cus- tomers want, we find that the US hits every major note better than any other origin." In 2014, the cooperative joined the GAP Connections program ("good agricultural practices"), which helps growers adopt practices that the industry considers desirable and began with it a program of randomly auditing growers. In 2016, with the help of GAP Connection personnel, USTC will audit 100% of its growers. "While grower audits are time consuming, they are a key part of changing the per- ception of US tobacco," says Thompson. "Social responsibility and sustainability have become significant issues for all of the major manufacturers, and leaf buyers not only want growers to meet high standards, they want data to prove it." The goal is to ensure that the cooperative's growers continue to embrace sound agricultural practices and produce a high quality, natural flavor crop, says Thompson. "[At the same time] they need to protect, sustain, and enhance the environment and safeguard the rights and conditions of those working throughout the supply chain. Entrance to the cigarette and tobacco products factory of USTC in Timberlake, NC. No longer limited to just buying tobacco, USTC now manufactures cigarettes and other tobacco products at a factory in Timberlake, NC.

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