T is for Tobacco

Program Information

Series: ABCs of Agriculture
Duration: 00:01:59
Year Produced: 2005
Description:

When the first settlers came to Virginia… in Jamestown …..they were lured with promises of finding gold and owning their own land. What they soon found out was that while beautiful, it was tough living. Summer brought blistering heat, and winter bitter cold. Typhoid outbreaks and Indian attacks threatened their health and safety. What saved the Jamestown settlers? Most would say, a good leader in Jamestown council president, Captain John Smith…. And most assuredly, tobacco.

ABCs of Agriculture informs about Virginia's farming community and how it affects you. ABCs of Agriculture are produced by the Virginia Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (AITC) - an educational program which encourages and enhances agricultural literacy in Grades K-5 and 6-8.

For more information visit: http://www.agintheclass.org

Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the ABC’s of Agriculture! We’re here today to talk about the letter T which stands for Tobacco. Did you know that tobacco, also referred to as the Golden Leaf, is directly linked to the history of commerce for our country?

When the first settlers came to Virginia… in Jamestown …..they were lured with promises of finding gold and owning their own land. What they soon found out was that while beautiful, it was tough living. Summer brought blistering heat, and winter bitter cold. Typhoid outbreaks and Indian attacks threatened their health and safety. What saved the Jamestown settlers? Most would say, a good leader in Jamestown council president, Captain John Smith…. And most assuredly, tobacco.

Jamestown was the first New World settlement in which tobacco was grown as a cash crop. The first shipment of tobacco was sold in London in 1614…. And by 1619 more than 10 tons had been exported.

In 2003, Virginia produced 19 thousand 409 tons of tobacco. That may sound like a lot…but in fact; tobacco acreage has dropped dramatically in the commonwealth. Primarily due to price decline and tobacco quota changes. That same year, however, $89.5 million dollars in cash receipts was generated for the state from tobacco.

Most of Virginia's tobacco is grown in the southern area of the central Piedmont Region and in the mountains of southwest Virginia. When harvested the leaf is a beautiful green color. It's only during the aging and curing process that it turns a beautiful gold!

For the ABC’s of Agriculture, I’m Professor Brad! See you next time!