The 2013 harvest — of tobacco

The département of the Dordogne — home to Daglan — has long been a major producer of tobacco, accounting for an estimated 23% of France’s production.

Although the business of raising, harvesting, drying and then processing tobacco has been in a steady decline (at least in part because of the withdrawal of subsidies), you can still see lots of tobacco growing in fields around the Greater Daglan Area.

While I’m not a fan of tobacco in general, and smoking in particular, I do sympathize at least a little bit with farmers who depend on income from the crop. And as for the tobacco plant itself, it’s actually fairly attractive.

Here’s a look at a field that lies between Saint Cybranet and Daglan, as I passed it today while cycling:

A field of bright green tobacco plants, ready to be cut.

A field of bright green tobacco plants, ready to be cut.

And now as we move towards autumn, we are in the harvest season, so the tall plants are being cut down and hauled away. Here’s a large area that’s been harvested, right next to the tobacco plants shown growing in the first photo:

Much of the crop has been harvested, right down to the ground.

Much of the crop has been harvested, right down to the ground.

As is so often the case in the GDA, the farm equipment itself looks pretty beat up. This tractor, for instance, has seen better days — but it’s hooked up to the tobacco harvester, and so its job is to finish cutting the crop.

This old tractor has the tobacco-harvesting option.

This old tractor comes with the tobacco-harvesting option.

Once the tobacco is gone, farmers will turn their attention to two more important harvests — feed corn and then, best of all, our wonderful walnuts.

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This entry was posted in Agriculture in the Dordogne, Life in southwest France, Weather in the Dordogne and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The 2013 harvest — of tobacco

  1. John Ison says:

    Loren .. you likely know that the farms of southwestern Ontario were once major sources of tobacco but declining demand and government assistance in transitioning to new crops have reduced the tobacco crops dramatically and largely protected the farmers. I am surprised that France has been subsidizing tobacco farming in recent years. Usually the soil and climate that are good for tobacco are also good for marijuana so, with legalization coming, more opportunities (here at least).

  2. loren24250 says:

    Thanks, John. I guess that in the big picture, it’s the same trend — presssure on tobacco growers, declining support from governments.

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