BURLEY TOBACCO/DARK FIRED TOBACCO: Workers will seed, set, cut, house, and strip tobacco. Workers will plant tobacco seeds in trays kept in environmentally controlled structure. When seedlings reach appropriate size, workers will transplant seedlings to prepared beds according to supervisors instructions. Workers will pull 6 to 10-inch-tall plants from a plant bed one at a time. The stems of the plant must not be bruised. The plants are put into bundles with roots at the same end so they can be transplanted. The bundles are hauled to the field for transplanting into separate rows 38 to 42 inches apart. The plants are spaced in the row from 16 to 20 inches apart. Machines pulled by a small tractor are used to transplant the tobacco. Workers will chop out weeds with a hoe, or pull by hand. Workers will remove tops and suckers from plants. Workers using a tobacco knife will cut ripe plants off at ground level and spear the tobacco stalk over metal spear onto wooden stick (stick is 48 inches long, one end is stuck in ground, and metal spear is placed on the other end). Industry standard is six (6) plants per stick (stick and six (6) plants may weigh 80 pounds, and plants may be seven (7) feet tall). Workers may drop sticks in standing tobacco before cutting by hand or by machine.
The harvesting of wrapper tobacco leaves maybe required in that the worker using scissors or shears to cut the top 4-6 leaves and as directed and trained by the farm supervisor. After wilting a boom harvester will travel thru the field in which the worker will walk behind at a steady pace and place the cut tobacco leaves on the boom conveyor hooks as instructed. The conveyor allows the leaves to be placed on a wooden stick which is regulated for space. The wooden stick once full in placed on a rack or wagon by the worker for transport to the curing barn.
The manual bolting and assembling of the metal racks may also be required by the workers in which the worker inserts a bolt and attaches a nut to secure the corners and sides of the rack with basic hand tools prior to harvesting.
The metal racks maybe delivered in sections to the farm via trailer or container that required manual unloading of the rack sections by the worker and placed on the ground or another wagon/trailer for unloading or storage.
Worker will transfer tobacco-loaded sticks from ground to wagon or trailer and load sticks in orderly fashion on said wagon or trailer. Workers will be required to climb into the barns to hang sticks of tobacco. Worker will then transfer sticks from wagon or trailer to other workers standing on rails in tobacco-curing barn. Workers standing on rails (worker stands with one foot on each rail -- rails may be 48 inches apart and from 6 to 40 feet from ground) will either hang stick and separate plants, or will transfer to another worker for purposes of air-curing the tobacco. For best results, curing barns should be filled in as short a time as possible.
With dark fired tobacco, wooden slabs covered with sawdust are placed under the tobacco that is hanging in the barn. The slabs are fired to smoke the tobacco. Workers will be required to cut wood and carry to barn to fire the tobacco. This process is repeated until the tobacco turns the appropriate color. Remaining ashes must be cleared away after firing the tobacco.