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Keywords:

  • tobacco;
  • North Carolina;
  • Latinization;
  • rural South;
  • farmworkers

Recent assaults on the tobacco industry have led to a decline in tobacco production across North Carolina, the largest tobacco producing state in the nation. Although a great deal of attention has been focused on tobacco farmers, considerably less work has been aimed at determining the effects of these changes on tobacco farmworkers, many of whom are Latinos. In this article, I discuss Rapid Ethnographic Assessment Procedures used to estimate the impact of changes in the tobacco industry on tobacco farmworkers. I find that the tobacco farm labor force is highly complex and that the effects of the economic downturns have had fewer effects on Latino farmworkers than on tobacco farm owners, in part because of the Latinization of the rural South.