After pulling out of the local tobacco-buying picture just over year ago, Philip Morris USA, a major manufacturer of American cigarettes and other tobacco products, is making a move to re-establish a facility in the Greeneville area that would purchase tobacco from East Tennessee growers.
In an advertisement that appeared in The Greeneville Sun last week, Philip Morris USA (PM), announced that it would be hosting an informational meeting for area growers at the Clyde Austin 4-H Center on Wednesday, April 17, beginning at 6 p.m.
"We invite all local tobacco farmers to attend," the ad said. "We would like to introduce ourselves, our company and our grower contracts."
PM pulled its receiving station out of Greene County after sale of the 2011 crop, and moved the facility to Danville, Ky.
The Danville receiving station, which is more than a four-hour drive from Greeneville, then became the closest PM facility for local growers.
As a result, the overwhelming majority of Greeneville-area growers chose to sell their 2012 crop with other, much-closer companies.
PM had operated a receiving station on Pottertown Road for two years before moving the facility to Danville.
Prior to that, PM's receiving station had been at Boones Creek, near Gray, for several years.
The move by PM to re-enter the local market comes after reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and various other private sources that world tobacco supplies are the lowest they've been in years and that demand, as a result, is the highest in years.
The ad aimed at tobacco growers in last week's paper went on to say that Philip Morris USA was "looking forward to your attendance" at the April 17 meeting at the 4-H Center.
"Grower benefits include but are not limited to: a U.S.-based company and market leader in domestic tobacco products, local representatives for all growers, competitive pricing, no deduction for small bales," the ad said.