Ben Hobson, a Yadkin County young farmer, participated with 45 other tobacco farmers and industry representatives recently in the 2017 NC State Tobacco Short Course in Raleigh. Hobson has been farming five years with his father, Derrick, at Hobson Farms near Boonville. Last year they grew 150 acres of flue-cured tobacco and 700 other crop acres in their farming operation.
During the week-long course, which coincided with the Southern Farm Show and the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina’s annual meeting, participants took part in the educational program aimed at helping them better understand all facets of tobacco production and marketing. The two days of classroom studies covered everything from greenhouse production of seedling plants to curing leaf ready for market. The group also spent a day participating in a flue-cured tobacco grading session.
“Since the tobacco industry faces continuous change, we need to make sure our younger farmers, their advisors, and other allied industry representatives are able to focus on how to attain efficient quality tobacco production,” said Dr. Bill Collins, the retired director of N.C. State Tobacco Extension programs and co-director of the Tobacco Short Course.
Instructors in the short course included N.C. State Extension specialists in agricultural economics, agronomy, biological and agricultural engineering, crop science, entomology, and plant pathology. USDA-AMS Tobacco Training Specialist Bobby F. Wellons taught the day-long tobacco grading session.
The 2017 N.C. State Tobacco Short Course was once again conducted by the North Carolina Tobacco Foundation, in partnership with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University. Funding for the program was from the North Carolina Tobacco Research Commission and the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina.