Tobacco is not just a commodity. It is a culture, a way of life, and a multi-billion dollar business. And it is the most controversial crop on the planet.
There is so much discussion about the health hazards and the politics of cigarettes. They kill people, yet taxes on them sustain so many government services.
Each year, the taxes on cigarettes go up, and smoking rates go down.
But beyond those headlines, there's a farm story, a product grown on U.S. soil for centuries. How ingrained is tobacco in agrarian America? Don't forget, Native Americans used it as currency before Europeans even arrived. In many parts of the country, it is the most lucrative crop per acre. Even with huge increases in prices for wheat, corn and soybeans, which average about $300 per acre, nothing makes more money than $1,500-per-acre tobacco.