Caswell Tobacco Extension Notes Fall / Early Winter 2018

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It’s another year gone by and looking for a great 2019 season. This was one of the most unusual growing season in history. We had some major challenges this 2018 growing season with some varieties not performing well and not good hold-ability of plants in the fields as well as diseases in the fields (Granville wilt, black shank, rhizoctonia leaf spot, brown spot, and cercospora leaf spot). A lot of this was due to delayed or unfortunately timed plantings with a wet spring and dry month during the summer and then excessive rainfalls toward the end of the summer, which resulted in a light-weighted, low-quality crop. With both Hurricanes (Florence and Michael) and above average rainfalls, the county received over sixty inches of rainfall since January 1 of this calendar year in most areas of the county. The excessive rainfalls is what devastated the losses in production and quality of this year’s tobacco crop with bacterial rot taking the crop completely out. This was one of the most unusual growing seasons on record with tremendous crop losses due to the weather forecasts’ in our area. Up to 50-60% reduction in yields have been documented from all varieties across Caswell County, Piedmont North Carolina, and Southside Virginia from Cooperative Extension farm visits.

Hurricane Florence Agricultural Disaster Program of 2018

I went before the Caswell County Board of Commissioners and presented information on the losses of our tobacco crop for this year. The Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution declaring the county a disaster for the agriculture community for Caswell County. Also I have spoken to N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and USDA officials concerning about including our county for disaster relief funds for Caswell County. We have been officially included in the Hurricane Florence Disaster Funds and I have included attachments that you need to read carefully and applied by December 10, 2018. If you need assistance in filling out this application, I will be happy to help you.

Farmers affected by Hurricane Florence may sign up for the Hurricane Florence Agricultural Disaster Program of 2018. The program will directly assist farmers who suffered losses of livestock and commodities planted but not harvested before September 13. The NCDA&CS will administer the program, and assistance will be dependent upon funding from the General Assembly.

Farms welcoming visitors have had the opportunity to complete an Agritourism Damage Assessment so that the industry can track impacts. Initial results from that survey reveal losses for Agritourism-related income, such as fall ticket sales and admission, to be estimated at $536,000. That amount does not include property damage. “Hurricane Florence was a catastrophe that hit agriculture at a time when historically high debt, previous disasters, and chronic low commodity prices have already created a dim outlook for farmers,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Because of this storm, many areas of North Carolina’s ag economy have run out of gas, and we need to get the engine started again in rural North Carolina. I am concerned that some of our farmers will choose not to return to the fields next year and we are going to do all that we can to encourage them to do so. If funded by the N.C. General Assembly, this program will provide much-needed cash flow to maintain agriculture and its multiplier effect for rural economies.”

Initial estimates for crop damage and livestock losses to North Carolina’s agriculture industry are estimated at $1.1 billion and expected to grow. More than half the state’s 100 counties have received a Presidential-disaster declaration.

The N.C. General Assembly directed the NCDA&CS to establish a Hurricane Florence Disaster Recovery plan in Session Law 2018-136. The sign-up period began on Wednesday, November 7, and will end on December 10.

Eligible Producers Will Need the Following:

  • A Form 578 on file with the USDA Farm Service Agency for USDA reported crops.
  • For crops not reported on FSA Form 578, a summary of loss with map and physical address of crops.
  • For livestock/poultry loss, a copy of payment or registration of loss for USDA LIP.
  • Completed W-9 for producer SSN/EIN.

You can go to the website at NCDA&CS for applications and further details about the program and go to the electronic application submission link.

Also, I have included a Cover Crop Seed Initiative that you may qualify for (see attachments).

I hope this will help offset some of the major losses that you encountered this past growing season.

Annual Tobacco Production and GAP Meeting

The upcoming 2019 Regional Tobacco Production Meeting and GAP Recertification Training. The meeting is designed to provide you with recertification training on the GAP information you are required to receive by your contracting company as well as production information for the 2019 growing season.

I would like to remind you that the GAP training sessions are required by the following companies:

  • RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company
  • Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Company
  • American Snuff Company
  • United Tobacco Company
  • Universal Leaf North America
  • Alliance One International
  • Japan Tobacco International
  • Philip Morris USA
  • Philip Morris International
  • US Smokeless Tobacco Company
  • US Tobacco Cooperative
  • Hail and Cotton, Inc.

The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 15, 2019, at the Caswell County Civic Center, 536 Main Street East, Yanceyville, NC. The meeting will begin with registration and breakfast at 8:30 a.m., followed by the program at 9 a.m. The training will conclude around noon with a sponsored lunch.

The meeting agenda will be very similar to what it was last year. In addition, GAP Connections has requested that each meeting allow for the following: 15 minutes for GAP Connections, 40 minutes for DOL, 40 minutes for Crop Management, and 40 minutes for Environmental Management. NC State University Tobacco Extension Specialists (Dr. Loren Fisher, Dr. Hannah Burrack, and Dr. Matthew Vann) will present Extension/Research updates as covering the 40 minutes requirement for Crop and Environmental Management. We will give out updated information for your GAP notebooks, NCSU Tobacco Handbooks, and DOL posters.

You will receive re-certification for the GAP training as well as 2 hours of pesticide “X, D, N, O” credits so you MUST pre-register by calling the Caswell County Extension Center at (336) 694-4158. Bring both your GAP and NCDA Pesticide Cards with you so we can scan them into our computer system. Pre-registration is required by Friday, January 11. Seating is limited, so walk-ins the day of the training may not be accommodated.

If you have questions concerning requirements or recommendations for GAP training, please contact your tobacco company representative or our office.


Feel free to continue contacting me at 336-694-4158 (office) for research-based information and Extension recommendations. Hope this information will be of value to you.


Joey E. Knight, III
Caswell County Extension Director