Tobacco in NW Missouri

In the Depression years, during the 1920s and 1930s, tobacco was on the verge of becoming a stable crop in northwest Missouri. Local farmers were planting the crop in hopes it would be a permanent thing. By 1941, buyers from almost every state in the union were bidding on tobacco and it was netting the farmers from $240 to $300 per acre.

In the Depression years, during the 1920s and 1930s, tobacco was on the verge of becoming a stable crop in northwest Missouri. Local farmers were planting the crop in hopes it would be a permanent thing. By 1941, buyers from almost every state in the union were bidding on tobacco and it was netting the farmers from $240 to $300 per acre.

Tobacco was imported to northwest Missouri. A 74-year-old Pattonsburg lady had 2,970 tobacco sacks and made them into nine quilt tops. Neither she nor her husband smoked. Most of the sacks had been brought to her by her two grandsons who were members of the CCC camps, while others had been given to her by her neighbors. She also made other things out of them which she said, if piled together, would fill a boxcar.

In 1943, another tobacco project was established at Gallatin. The American Legion Post placed jars for money donations around the town to raise money for cigarettes for the servicemen. The words “You did it before, you can do it again” were to be placed on each of the first 1,000 packages of cigarettes purchased with the $50 which was collected. In this case, the tobacco was purchased from the Reynolds Tobacco Company, makers of Camel cigarettes, for five cents per package.

In 1931, a northwest Missouri farmer had a 3-acre plot planted in tobacco. The crop was cut around Sept. 10 and stored in his barn where it was kept until the middle of November. Then it was graded and prepared for the Weston market. When the crop was still in the field, an expert tobacco inspector had estimated the yield to be 1,700 pounds. It was thought the selling price would be 15 cents per pound.

— by Wilbur Bush