Tobacco has always been an important part of North Carolina's economy and a vital crop to our producers. Many people raised in this state can find a heritage relating to some area of the tobacco industry. The golden leaf is a bedrock to North Carolina. Since the passage of the Federal Tobacco Quota Buyout in October 2004, the tobacco industry has been in a transition period.
The Tarheel state continues to rank number one in the production of tobacco with an approximate 2011 annual farm income that was down to $416 million dollars which was due to hurricane Irene. In 2011, North Carolina flue-cured tobacco farmers raised 160,000 acres with an average yield of 1,681 lbs. per acre. Burley tobacco farmers in the state raised 2,300 acres for an average yield of 1,550 lbs. per acre. Post buyout total tobacco farms have decreased but the remaining tobacco farms have increased their farm size to keep total production relatively constant. Another interesting event is the spread of burley tobacco production in the piedmont and coastal plain areas of the state, which is outside of the traditional growing areas of our mountain region.
Employment relating to tobacco is 662,400 in the United States and 255,000 in North Carolina. The tobacco industry's estimated spending-induced impact on America's GNP was over $64.0 billion. North Carolina's tobacco economic impact is over $7.0 billion.
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