50 Years, 50 Stories


Published Nov. 25, 1968 in Public Ledger/The Daily Independent

Everything was in readiness Sunday night for the first sales of the 1968 season on the mammoth Maysville market, second largest in the eight-state burley belt.

Approximately $4 1/2 million work of the golden leaf, something more than 9 1/2 million pounds, covered the floors of most of the 18 sprawling warehouses. More will be b=delivered before the auctions begin.

The market is practically full, but not jammed.

Growers, warehousmen, purchasing company employees, sales, floor and packing room employees all are rarin’ to go.

Excitement pervades the tobacco district, the business section… in fact, the entire area.

Everybody is waiting for the auctioneers to cray the first bids that will signal the start of outpouring of some $22 million here during the seven-week season.

Those dollars are the principal source of income to farmers of northeastern Kentucky and southwestern Ohio. Those are the dollars that make cash registers of valley merchants jingle like Santa’s sleigh bells when cash return for the crop is good.

Lat year Maysville sold $31,993,042 pounds for an all-time high average of $70.96 a hundred pounds.

Almost certainly poundage will not be that high this year. The crop is weighing from 12 1/2 to 15 percent lighter because of unusually thin texture. This was caused by water-kill during a critical period in the growing season.

But quality is generally good and there is a high percentage of smokers, which bring the highest prices.

Too, the average federal support price is higher. It is $63,50 this year, up $1.80 a hundred from $61.70 in 1967. Loan rates range from $30 for crude non-descript to $77 for choice buff and tab flyings and lugs. Support is $1 to $5 higher for most grades than on the 1967, but a number of the better quality grades are unchanged.

Sales will open simultaneously Monday on all the 61 markets of the burley belt — in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina and Missouri. There will be 71 sets of buyers in the belt this year and a total of 410 warehouses will be operated.

First auctions will be held here in the Forest Avenue, Kentucky King and Standard Warehouses.

Forest Avenue buyers will move to the Home at 1:13 p.m. Sales will block at the end o f the day in the Kentucky King, Standard and Home.

Auctions will be held 3 1/2 daily — from 10 a.m. until noon and from 1 p.m. until 2:30 p.m.

At the 1967 opener, Maysville sold 1,725,834 pounds for $1,2290,774.38. The average was $70.74, the highest first-day median in the 59-year history of this market, and $2.56 more than the opening average the year before.