USDA Announces Referendum Results: The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the preliminary results of the referenda held in March among growers of various kinds of tobacco to determine marketing quotas and price support in effect for the 1998, 1999, and 2000 marketing years. Pennsylvania growers of cigar filler (type 41), Connecticut and Massachusetts growers of cigar binder (types 51 and 52), and growers of Maryland type tobacco (type 32) all voted against quotas. Virginia growers of sun-cured (type 37) voted in favor of quotas.
1997/98 U.S. Burley Auction Update: The 1997/98 burley and dark tobacco auction season is now closed as the final burley tobacco auctions were held on Thursday, April 9, 1998. Total gross sales of burley tobacco (type 31) this year reached 309,910 metric tons, up 22 percent from last year when 254,054 tons were sold. Prices for type 31 averaged $4.16 per kilogram this year, down 8 cents per kilogram from last year. The average burley price this year was the lowest since 1990. Much of this can be attributed to adverse weather conditions that occurred throughout the growing season. Tobacco set early was impacted by heavy spring rains and a summer drought, while tobacco set late didnt have sufficient time to cure before marketing. About 18 percent of burley sales went under loan this year compared to no tobacco going under loan last year.
Sales of Virginia fire-cured (type 21), eastern district fire-cured (type 22), and Virginia sun-cured (type 37) were reported to be higher this year, while sales of, western district fire-cured (type 23), one sucker (type 35), and greenriver (type 36) were lower. Prices averaged 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 this year was unchanged or lower with the exception of (type 22), and (type 23) which were higher.