Philip Morris USA - will no longer purchase tobacco from Georgia or Florida..

November 24, 2009 - Philip Morris USA officials held a meeting on Oct. 14, in Alma, Ga., with more than 75 growers from Georgia and Florida attending. Growers were informed of the decision by Philip Morris USA to “no longer offer contracts for the purchase of tobacco in Georgia after the 2009 season.”

Growers who are operating on a one year contract will not be offered a new contract for 2010. Growers who hold three or five-year contracts will continue to be able to produce and sell tobacco until the completion of their contracts, if they have met the requirements of their contracts and continue to have contracts in good standing.

The location of a buying point for the remaining production after 2009 was in question with the current receiving station not currently under contract for use. Three other Philip Morris USA buying points located in Lumberton, N.C., Wilson, N.C., and Danville, Va., will continue to buy tobacco from growers in those areas.

Shas heard talk of a possible interest form Japan Tobacco International (JTL) Leaf Services, which is establishing a burley and flue-cured processing plant in Danville, Va.

JTI Leaf Services, which is the international tobacco unit of Japan Tobacco, Inc., produces two of the top three worldwide cigarette brands — Winston and Mild Seven. Its other brands include Camel and Benson & Hedges. JTI recently announced it plans to spend $19.5 million to build the plant, creating 39 full-time jobs and 150 seasonal jobs when fully operational.

Nothing is for certain at this point, says Moore, and it’s too early to tell what Philip Morris USA’s competition might do. The three other buyers of Georgia and Florida tobacco include R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Alliance One International and U.S.

Reference: No PM tobacco contracts for Georgia, Florida by Paul L. Hollis,, 11/23/2009.