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Founding Funders

Partner Profile: U.S. Tobacco Cooperative Inc.

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The United States is one of the top exporters of flue-cured tobacco in the world. North Carolina produces more of the cash crop than the other four states that grow it—South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia and Florida. The sandy soils found in the Coastal Plain and Northern Piedmont counties in the eastern part of the state are ideal for growing the crop and producing its distinctive sweet flavor.

The U.S. Tobacco Cooperative, Inc. helps ensure flue-cured tobacco farmers and producers continue to succeed. The grower-owned marketing cooperative represents more than 500 members, processes over 35 million pounds of flue-cured tobacco each year and manufactures high-quality tobacco products for domestic and global markets. The cooperative’s commitment to its members includes a dedication to industry innovation, which inspired them to support the North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative (N.C. PSI).

“N.C. PSI is near and dear to us because it’s our future,” said Tommy Bunn, former president of the U.S. Tobacco Cooperative Inc. “U.S. tobacco growers have been the leader in the world because they can overcome problems of production. They are able to do that because of the scientific work through universities like NC State and application of the scientific discoveries in the field.”

NC State researchers have a long history of studying and experimenting with flue-cured tobacco to better understand plant nutrition, weed management, pesticide impacts, greenhouse production and plant physiology. NC State research stations across the state host field experiments and share new discoveries with farmers and industry producers.

“N.C. PSI is an opportunity to expand science around the production of crops including tobacco,” said Bunn. “With increased scientific knowledge, we can help U.S. growers remain competitive and continue to produce the best tobacco in the world.”

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Dinah Schuster
Senior Director of Development, Plant Sciences Initiative
P: 919.513.8294