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Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin
(1904)

Chapter III: Tobacco,   pp. 155-175 PDF (4.7 MB)


Page 169


HIBBARD-HISTORY OF AGRICULTURE IN DANE COUNTY. 169
  Pruning, i. e., removing the lower leaves during the growing
period, has been discontinued. Harvesting is done rapidly as
there are but a few days from the time the crop is ready until it
begins to lose in quality. All members of the family work early
and late until the last load is in the shed. The women and girls
do the cutting, the small children the piling, the boys string it
on lath, and the men haul it to the shed, the whole process being
done in a single day when the weather is favorable.
  It is after the crop is in the shed that the real trouble begins."
Pole-rot, shed-burn, strutting, etc., etc., keep the owner on the
anxious seat till at last the stripping and sorting is done, the
crop sold, and the money in his pocket. The cost of raising is
estimated roughly at sixty or eighty dollars per acre.
                     VARIETY AND QUALITY.
  The variety of tobacco grown is almost entirely the Spanish,
the "seed-leaf" going out of favor with the decline in price dur-
ing the '8o's, since which time very little of it has been planted.
  Wisconsin growers have never been able to produce as fine an
article as is grown in the eastern states. In i879, New England
tobacco graded fifty per cent. wrappers, Wisconsin less than
thirty per cent.; in i889 the percentages74 were about the same,
and they have not changed materially since. Nor is this all; the
Wisconsin wrappers invariably sell at half, or less, than wrap-
pers from Connecticut; in fact, a considerable share of "Wiscon-
sin wrappers" are not wrappers at all but sell as "binders."
                     THE TARIFF ON TOBACCO.
   Whether or not the tobacco industry is still an infant, it has
required as tender nursing by the politician as by the farmer, and
shows no symptoms of being able to stand alone. It was the tariff
of war times that gave the industry its first importance, and with
all the discussion as to seed, and sheds, and land, and labor, the
tariff has continued to be the sine qua non of tobacco culture. In
  sThe shed In usually twenty-six feet wide and sixteen feet high. Every
fourth board Is hung on hinges for ventilation. A shed of this height holds
four tiers besides those bung In the gable; twenty to twenty-four feet In
length
holds the crop from one acre, and costs about one hundred dollars.
  "Wjcoguan~ Tobacco Reporter, May 22, 1891.


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