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In October of 2012, I took a short 3 day trip to Kentucky for my sister's wedding. While there, I used every minute of my time (when not fulfilling my wedding responsibilities) to photograph the gorgeous tobacco barns of Western Kentucky. I spent my entire time there photographing just a few of the tobacco barns near the town of Murray, Kentucky which is located in the Land Between the Lakes region. Honestly, I would need at least a month of daily photo shoots just to capture all the barns within a 30 mile radius that I would like to photograph. But, of all the pictures that I took during my time there, this one is my personal favorite.
This old barn sat alone in a an open field apparently no longer in use. At one time it would have been used to cure the tobacco that grows so abundantly in that region. As it was, it stood empty, with the beautiful fall leaves changing all around it and the foliage slowly overgrowing. This scene was gorgeous enough but when I glimpsed across the street, the scene that greeted me was another one worthy of photographing.
If you're interested in seeing what I saw, please view both of my pictures, "Black Beauty" and "Colorful Display" both located in my "Western Kentucky Landscapes" album.
Kentucky Ag Facts: Tobacco
Tobacco has long been a staple crop in Kentucky. Kentucky farmers grow three types of tobacco: Burley, dark fired-cured, and dark air-cured. According to a 2005 USDA report Kentucky ranked 2nd in overall tobacco production and #1 in production of Burley tobacco.
Currently Burley tobacco is grown in 110 of Kentucky?s 120 counties and accounts for 82% of all tobacco grown in the state. It?s primary use is for cigarettes.
Dark fire-cured and dark air-cured tobacco production is concentrated in 20 western Kentucky counties and is used primarily in smokeless tobacco products like snuff, chewing and pipe tobacco.
Overall sales of Tobacco generated $342.5 million in cash receipts for Kentucky farmers in 2005. Sales have declined partially over the past few years with a recent report citing 2010 tobacco cash receipts for Kentucky at $331 million, sixth overall in agricultural receipts.
Tobacco is an important generator of dollars for Kentucky farmers, with over 72 counties exceeding over $1 million in production during 2005. The 2002 census of agriculture accounted for nearly 87,000 farms in Kentucky, with more than 29,000 growing tobacco.
By: Jesse Bussard
November 21st, 2012
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