The News & Record
South Boston News & Record
and Mecklenburg Sun
Home   •   News   •   Sports   •   Classifieds   •   Community   •   Health   •   Entertainment   •   Obituaries   •   Opinions   •   Weather
Advertising | Contact | Register
Advanced Search
News

SOL test scores: Mixed bag

Halifax makes the grade half of the time with passing rates, but dropoffs outnumber gains

Judge nixes lawsuit by motorsports instructor

Case dismissed after Wilborn contested firing

Jobless rate rises to 8.8 percent in July

Halifax County’s unemployment rate jumped from 8.3 percent in June to 8.8 percent in July. Over 900 people left the labor force, which numbered 15,974 in June, but fell to…

Sports

Comets fall in opener to Jefferson Forest

A quick, athletic Jefferson Forest squad proved too potent offensively for the Halifax County High School varsity football squad Friday night, speeding past the Comets, 50-30, in South Boston.

Community


Opinion


A&E

News

‘To keep tobacco going, we must pay a fair price’

SoVaNow.com / July 31, 2013
Strolling past bales of tobacco lined up in the Piedmont Warehouse in Danville, Chuck Jordan speaks the patter of a tobacco auctioneer, a language understood by four buyers and several growers trailing behind him. The pace is fast. It takes only a few seconds for Jordan to evaluate, price and then sell off each bale.

The Piedmont Warehouse in Danville held the first tobacco auction of the season yesterday, almost two weeks before many area receiving stations will open. Of the four bidders, Clarksville’s Mac Bailey seemed to be the only one prepared to buy. By the end of the auction, a scant 30 minutes after it had started, he’d purchased every bale, at prices ranging from $2 to $1.50 depending on the quality of the leaf.

Prior to the auction, the manager of the Piedmont exchange, T.Y. Mason, and his partner Jim Eggleston walked around the warehouse, assessing the tobacco about to be auctioned. Most of the bales were bright gold in color “which is what you want,” said Mason. These will fetch the higher price, he predicted.

He described the Piedmont Warehouse as an alternative for growers: “We don’t worry about weight or water, or whether they have the right percentage of primings, cutters, and tips.” Mason added, “last year, growers with third and fourth quality tobacco [less favorable grades] did much better at auction than at the receiving station.”

Bailey says he prefers purchasing at auction rather than through a contract receiving station. Again, because it gives the farmer a better chance to get a fair price, he said.

Before the year is over, Bailey and his son Mike will purchase between 16 and 20 million pounds of tobacco for their manufacturing operation near the line between Charlotte and Lunenburg counties. S&M Brands makes cigarettes and tobacco products distributed under the names Baileys, Tahoe and Riverside, and employs nearly 100 people on the manufacturing side of his business.

With him at this first auction was Daryl Edwards, a retired tobacco grader for the USDA. He now works for Bailey grading his tobacco, and for Mike Bailey, who, according to his father, knows more about tobacco than any man in the area. Mike’s responsibilities involving processing and selling.

“Whether I paid too much is to be determined,” explained Bailey. “It’s still early [in the season for harvesting, grading and auctioning or selling tobacco]. But I was first and still do grow tobacco, so I know what’s involved in growing. It’s hard work, nobody’s willing to do, often seven days a week from sunup to sundown. If we want farmers to continue to grow tobacco, we have to pay them a fair price.”

When asked why he thought Bailey was the sole purchaser, Jordan replied, “He’s the one with the money. It’s not that the others don’t like the product. Today they’re just looking.”

On Wednesday, Bailey will be buying tobacco in South Carolina, while auctioneer Jordan will be back in Winston-Salem preparing for the opening of their market — around Aug. 16

Tell-a-Friend | Submit a Comment

656

Classified Advertising

Buy and sell items in News & Record classifieds.