Mike Watson grew up on a family farm in rural southwestern Virginia. Having made a career at the electric company, he never imagined himself – let alone his children and grandchildren – back on that farm. Read more
This still looks like tobacco country. Tractors still slow traffic on the roads. An autumn celebration is still called the “Tobacco Festival.” And family farms still have the region’s trademark tall barns where the harvest’s giant green leaves once cured in the rafters until they were rusty brown and ready for market.
But despite decades of tradition, tobacco farming is on the wane in Appalachia. The elimination of government price supports and increased costs of production have prompted many tobacco growers to seek out new crops in order to get by. What some have found may change the face of agriculture in this remote region. Read more