If you're a tobacco farmer, sowing organic tobacco seeds is a great way to help preserve the earth while keeping up your livelihood. It's becoming more and more difficult to maintain profitable farm businesses; adopting organic practices may help you to stand out against the rest.
Why Grow Organic Tobacco?
A lot has changed in tobacco farming over the past decade. Between vacillating political and economic climates, tobacco farms all over America have been forced to close up shop because it's become so difficult to make a living in this day and age. In 2003 the federal tobacco program was terminated, adding to the dismal view of tobacco farming in the future.
U.S grower networks are currently recruiting for contract production of organic tobacco, and some tobacco farmers are changing their operations to accommodate these new contracts. This includes, among other things, using certified organic fertilizers and pesticides in place of standard chemicals. By using fewer toxic substances, organic farming practices are helping to preserve the environment as well as a small portion of the tobacco farming industry that has helped sustain the economy of the United States since the 18th century.
Where Can You Find Organic Tobacco Seeds?
If you don't know where to look, it can be difficult to find tobacco seeds that are organically grown. Sometimes local retailers might carry standard seeds, but not organic varieties. While it's always a good idea to check with your local nurseries first because they can offer great advice about what varieties will grow best in your area, the Internet can provide you with a wide varieties of seed retailers if there's no brick-and-mortar farm supply shops nearby. Here are a few online retailers to check out for tobacco seeds.
- New Hope Seeds is a great little organic storefront. The shop owner's family has been farming tobacco since 1804, and they offer nearly 40 different kinds of tobacco as well as a wealth of information on the art of tobacco farming. New Hope specializes in preserving the rare tobacco seed varieties of long ago, without the use of hybrid or GMO varieties.
- Eden Organic Nursery Services, located in Hallandale, Florida, offers a great selection of organic tobacco varieties. Check out their online catalog for different kinds of tobacco, including North Carolina, Petit Havana, and Chilean. They also sell a selection of supplies to help you maintain your crop.
- Victory Seeds sells a great selection of ornamental tobacco seeds, including Mohawk, Russian Red, and Little Dutch. Check with them ahead of time about whether the year's crop of seeds is organic.
More Information on Growing Organic Tobacco
If you're interested in learning more about farming organic tobacco, there is a lot of information on the Internet that can help you research how to set up your farm. Check out these links for more details.
- The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service has a great page about organic tobacco production that outlines how going organic is affecting tobacco farming culture.
- The Tobacco Farm Quarterly discusses the increase in organic tobacco farming and how farmers are getting more per pound for their goods.
- Natural American Spirit Cigarettes briefly outlines a few organic farming practices for tobacco farmers. They also have a video that shows their organic growers program. (You must complete a free registration to see the article.)