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ries and let your customers know that your berries are just as they are represented, both as to quality and kind. When you have the confi dence of your customers, you have gained an advantage over your competitor which cannot be easily taken from you.


By F. R. DIFFENDERFFER, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

No reports on the tobacco crop in this State having appeared in the annual volume of the Department of Agriculture for a number of years, and as this industry has steadily held its own during the past twenty seasons along with other staple crops of the Commonwealth, it has been deemed expedient to present a view of the progress and present condition of tobacco farming as it exists among us at the present time.

As a general thing it may be said, that, save in one or two particulars, no radical changes have taken place in the methods of planting, cultivating, harvesting and curing the crop. But while the old time lines and methods still prevail to a large extent, a number of minor changes have been brought about, some the result of necessity, and others such as the practical experience of the tobacco growers themselves have shown to be necessary and expedient. I shall allude to such of these as seem deserving of mention, and also endeavor to present as briefly and clearly as possible, such new features as seem to commend themselves to farmers who are anxious to keep abreast of the most advanced ideas of their calling.


When the last extended report on the culture of tobacco in this State was written eighteen years ago, the crop had reached high water mark, so far as quantity was concerned, and it was thought at that time that the limit had been reached. The estimate for the season of 1879 was 60,000 cases, with a possibility that it might go even beyond those figures. Since then the product of the State has fluctuated from causes that will be stated later on, but during several seasons it reached the great total of 80,000 cases. The same prejudices that then prevailed among some persons to growing tobacco on moral grounds, have not died out, but the value of the crop as a money producer, its profitableness, its generally ready sale, the small outlay of ready money required to grow it and the large returns swept away the ob

jections of many and the area has been gradually extending until the product reached the dimensions already stated.


When Pennsylvania first ran her crop up to 80,000 cases, one-half of which, and sometimes more, was cultivated by the single county of Lancaster, she stood far above any of the other cigar leaf tobacco growing states. No other even approached her in this particular. But a rival has come upon the field. While the New England states have not exceeded their product of fifteen or twenty years ago, and while the same may be said of New York, a most formidable rival has, like young Lochinvar, came out of the West, and to-day the State of Wisconsin with her product of from 60,000 to 100,000 cases has challenged our supremacy, not only in the matter of quantity, but also in a measure in the quality of her product. It is true, her tobaccos do not rate as high in the markets as our own, but they form excellent binders for cigars, and their cheapness besides, makes them a most serious rival of Pennsylvania grown goods.

But it is not in Wisconsin alone that our State has encountered dangerous rivalry. Fashion has stepped in and declared that the rich brown shade which marks the best Pennsylvania leaf, is not in accordance with the highest taste, and proclaimed that the cinnaman colored article grown in the valley of the Connecticut is the correct thing, and the result has been that our growers can no longer command the prices they formerly did, but have been compelled to occupy a second place, with a loss of prestige and a reduction in the market value of their product.


Still another and a more serious drawback has come to our growers. For three successive seasons the weather conditions were unfavorable. It is well known, that for its best and highest development, the tobacco plant requires a reasonable amount of moisture all through the growing season, especially during the twenty or thirty days prior to harvesting. Unless it gets this, the plant comes to a standstill, and the leaves grow thick and leathery. That was the case in 1894, 1895 and 1896. The crops in these years were undesirable, and not such as manufacturers wanted. The result was that the packers lost much money on some of them and were unwilling or unable to pay remunerative prices. All this was further accentuated by the improper treatment of the tobacco in the stripping rooms by many growers, who used water too freely to increase the weight of the crop. The result was that many crops developed black rot after they were cased and had undergone their sweat, entailing heavy losses on the holders. White vein also came along and added to the trouble. The result was that Pennsylvania tobacco growers got a "black eye," in the language of the

trade, and prices went down to the lowest figures known. In fact, it became difficult to sell these goods at much above the cost of production, and the result was that the acreage gradually dwindled until in 1886 it reached the lowest point known in twenty years, 8,500 or 9,000 acres, just about one-half the acreage of our best year.

During the growing season of 1897 the condition of the previous four seasons was completely reversed. There was plenty of rain at planting time and except one unimportant short interval, this was kept up almost until harvest time. The plants kept growing without pause or drawback, and the result has been one of the leafiest crops ever grown in the State. Although the acreage was not more than 25 per cent greater than in 1896, it is almost certain that double the quantity of tobacco has been grown. A heavy growth is generally accompanied by superior excellence in the leaf, and this condition promised to be realized in the crop of 1897.


While the foregoing clearly demonstrates that successive seasons of poor crops and consequent poor prices may greatly affect the extent of the crop, there are abundant reasons for asserting that tobacco will continue to be one of the staple agricultural crops of Pennsylvania. In the first place, even though our wrappers are no longer in the demand they were twenty years ago, for reasons that will be given later on, our fillers are still among the best grown anywhere in the world, not even excepting the choicest products of Cuba, and will for that reason always be held in high esteem by manufacturers. This fact is most clearly demonstrated at the present writing. The war in Cuba has interfered very seriously with the tobacco production of that island, having cut it down more than one-half. The authorities of Cuba have in consequence prohibited the export of these goods in order to keep their own factories running. The result has been that while an entire year's supply was brought into the United States before the Spanish export prohibition went into operation, the price in our markets has increased one hundred per cent. and the supply is being rapidly exhausted. This fact has driven the manufacturers of high grade cigars to the extensive use of the excellent filler tobacco grown in Pennsylvania, and it is a well known fact that the "pure Havana filler" cigars now put on the market are by no means such. but that into nearly all of them a large proportion of our domestic filler tobacco is put, while into still others, no Havanna fillers enter at all, the whole being our home grown product. Whatever may be said about the morality of this deception, the fact remains that so nearly does our best Pennsylvania filler tobacco approach that of Cuba in quality and flavor, that smokers are unable to detect the difference.

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