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Tobacco is Going, Going … But Where?

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Abstract

Tobacco is America's most vilified agricultural product. It is also the eighth most valuable crop in the United States, and its immense economic value and historic depth made it an agricultural cornerstone and a cultural focus in the Upper South. The federal tobacco program limited production and ensured a fair price to growers, helping many small family farms survive at no net cost to the American taxpayer. Kentucky ranks second in tobacco production and is the most tobacco-dependent state. This paper examines what has happened to tobacco farmers in western Kentucky since the federal tobacco program was terminated in 2004 and its broader implications.

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