Preliminary Flue-Cured Tobacco Referendum Results: Preliminary results from a mail referendum held January 12-15 indicate that flue-cured tobacco growers voted to continue acreage-poundage marketing quotas for their crops for the 1998, 1999, and 2000 marketing years. Results show that 10,377 of the 10,534 producers who voted in the referendum, or 98.5 percent, voted in favor of continuing acreage-poundage marketing quotas. A vote of at least two-thirds in favor was necessary to continue the program.
USDA Announces 1998-Crop Burley Tobacco Program: The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that the national marketing quota for the 1998 crop is 637.8 million pounds, down from the 1997 quota of 704.5 million pounds. The quota is based on: domestic cigarette manufacturers purchase intentions of 421.1 million pounds; 3-year average leaf exports of 188.1 million pounds; reserve stock adjustment of 28.6 million pounds; and no discretionary change by the Secretary of Agriculture. Other provisions of the program include: a support level of $1.778 per pound, up 1.8 cents per pound from 1997; and a marketing assessment of 0.889 cent per pound, with respect to both growers and buyers, for a total of 1.778 cents per pound.
1997/98 U.S. Burley Auction Update: Through the 38th sale day of the 1997/98 U.S. burley and dark tobacco auction season, total gross sales of U.S. burley tobacco (type 31) reached 287,677 metric tons, up 14 percent from the same 38 day period last year when 252,173 tons were sold. Prices for type 31 are averaging $4.18 per kilogram so far this year, down 6 cents per kilogram from last year. So far this year about 13 percent of sales have gone under loan compared to no tobacco going under loan last year at this time. Sales of Virginia fire-cured (type 21), eastern district fire-cured (type 22), greenriver (type 36), and Virginia sun-cured (type 37) are reported to be higher so far this year, while sales of western district fire-cured (type 23), and one sucker (type 35) are lower. Prices are averaging the same or higher for dark type tobaccos in all markets this year when compared to last year with the exception of western district fire-cured (type 23). Loan take for dark tobaccos so far this year is unchanged or lower with the exception of (type 22), and (type 23) which is higher.