• March 3, 2024

The die is cast

 The die is cast

Tobacco growers in the US states of Kentucky and Tennessee are being encouraged to switch to producing indigo as a ‘viable economic alternative’ to tobacco, according to a Forbes story relayed by the TMA.

In an interview, Sarah Bellos, founder of the bio-based dye start-up company, Stony Creek Colors, told Forbes that US tobacco growers were losing contracts due to the declines in smoking prevalence.

Bellos said that her company contracted the growers at the beginning of the season with what looked like a tobacco contract.

But Stony Creek Colors took more of the weather-related risk. “We pay them on a per-acre basis versus paying per ton,” she said. “A farmer doesn’t have a good way of projecting crop yields until after several years. We will move towards performance-based pay over time.”

Bellos added that harvesting tobacco was very labor intensive and by switching to indigo, growers “could benefit from a sustainable crop that doesn’t require nitrogen and can attract beneficial insects”.