Supply-demand balance for burley takes abrupt turn

Supply-demand balance for burley takes abrupt turn

LOUISVILLE, KY (AP) - A supply-demand balance that once favored Kentucky burley tobacco farmers now seems to be turning against them as another market season opens.

Burley growers received strong prices a year ago in a market where tobacco companies seemed to snatch up all the leaf they could get. The outlook isn't nearly as upbeat now, at a time when global demand for burley is declining while world leaf production has been increasing.

Will Snell, a University of Kentucky agricultural economist, says the supply-demand balance for U.S. burley has taken an "abrupt turn." He says the result will be a likely drop from last season's prices, which averaged $2.06 per pound. Leaf buyers are also expected to be pickier.

Kentucky's burley production is forecast at 161 million pounds, up 9 percent from a year ago.

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