Precious Weed

Tobacco may be an evil weed to some, but to the farmers who grow it, "bacca" has long been manna. The golden leaf was the American Colonies' first profitable cash crop, and since the Depression the Federal Government has guaranteed farmers a rewarding price.

Along the way, a near feudal system has grown up on Southern tobacco farms. To limit production, farmers were given strict growing allotments. These lucrative allotments are hereditary; most owners, who now include stockbrokers and car salesmen, as well as widows and retired farmers, lease them out for up to $1,500 an acre.

Under the Government program,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!