09 September 1997
Lay off tobacco farmers, say Virginians

THE Farm Bureau of Virginia, USA, is pressing for an amendment to Virginias state charter that would prohibit discrimination against specific kinds of agricultural activities.

Farmers in the state are under increasing pressure by the rise of anti-smoking lobbies. The number-one cash crop netted $194 million (£120m) last year.

Other sources of income have been less successful for farmers. Broccoli was tried 10 years ago, but was undercut by cheaper Californian produce. Even soyabeans, which account for 194,256ha (480,000 acres), do not match the income reaped from tobacco.

  • Financial Times 09/09/97 page IV (Commonwealth of Virginia survey)