Tobacco Farming with Perry Halverson
Anna | Nick
Perry Halverson owns 500 acres of land. Right now, the
"allotment" he is allowed by the government for farming tobacco
is only three acres, but he farms tobacco on neighbors' land as well. (Allotments
are used to prevent over- or underproduction.)
Tobacco farming requires lots of people. First Perry buys the plants from
a greenhouse up in Michigan. Then he plants them using a tobacco planter.
The planter is pulled by a tractor. There are four seats, two small ones
and two large ones. There are two wheels and two people feed each wheel.
You take a plant and put it in a basket in the wheel. The wheel then turns
and plants the tobacco.
Different kinds of tobacco are planted in different places. The type grown
in Wisconsin is type 55. You couldn't grow, say, type 21 here because it's
not adapted to our climate.
After you harvest the tobacco, which is done with a special ax, you use
a spear to pierce the tobacco leaves and tie them to lathe boards. Then
you hang the boards between logs that are strung all the way up to the top
of the barn. The barn has open slits to give the tobacco more air so it
You have to have proper tools for this kind of work.
Even if you're a professional, it takes about two-and-a-half to three hours
to prepare the land and plant an acre of tobacco. So imagine how long it
will take to plant one acre if you don't have tools!
This page last updated on
October 2, 2002