The American government, in its quest for the almighty dollar, has decided that they will be increasing the tax on commercially sold tobacco. HermitJim wrote a good post that breaks down the new taxes by tobacco type. Now, this is nothing new, greedy beaurocrats that do not create wealth are always looking for a way to justify their jobs and to get money to pay for their positions. However, the AMOUNT of the tax increases that have been passed are what staggers the mind. The House of Representatives and the Sentate have both passed bills that would raise the tax by $.62 and $.61, respectively. They are banking on this increased tax to raise the income of the federal governemnt, but what always happens when taxes are raised? The amount collected goes down. People will quit or start growing their own tobacco.
Now, mmPaints over at selfsustainedliving.blogspot.com grows her own tobacco, and that got me thinking about doing it myself. So what do I do next? Research, research, and more research... and you, lucky reader, will get to share some of what I have found.
As with any plants or seeds, heirloom is the way to go anymore. This will allow you to save the seeds from the plant in order to be stored and planted the next year, and of course, they are much much much less likely to be genetically modified. So I went looking for some heirloom tobacco seeds to start my own plot of tobacco, and I found one location that seems to be the best bet. New Hope Seed has a large variety of heirloom tobacco for all different purposes. They label each variety with its name, type, common uses, and pictures of the plant and the flower. They sell both seeds and started plants, as well. I'm not sure which way I am going to go regarding the varieties, but I know I will be getting a few packets of seeds, at least. I am thinking that I may get a few live plants to transplant just to make sure I get some sort of a crop this year. But I do know that I want some plants that are good for both pipes and cigarettes.
As I understand it, tobacco is not difficult to grow, but in order to prepare it for use, there are a few things that should be done. (Note I said should. I have heard you don't need to cure it, but I don't know) There are a few methods of curing and preparing your tobacco, but as I have not yet done this, I am not going to go over them. There are a few sites out there that I am looking at how to do this, and I'm sure there are more than I have found. This isn't even a concern unless I do manage to have a harvest, and then I will be prepared for it!
I will post more throughout the summer about this project as it continues... but I would at least urge you to think about growing your own if you use any tobacco products. With the rising federal taxes, and some states looking to raise theirs as well, it is going to put a major hurting on the pocketbook before too long!
(and let me just add that if the revolution ever does come, tobacco would make an amazing barter item)