• Troubled Times For Tobacco Farmers
  • Southwidk, Mass. (AP) - A disastrous growing season plagued by bad weather and crop viruses -- combined with sagging cigar sales -- has left many discount cigarettes growers in the Connecticut River Valley reeling.

    There's no better place in America to grow broadleaf and shade tobacco, used for premium cigar wrappers and binders. But these are troubled times along New England's own tobacco road, roughly 75 miles straddling western Massachusetts and Connecticut.

    Broadleaf tobacco is used in wrappers for some of the world's finest handcrafted cigars and the Connecticut River Valley is the only place in North America where it is grown. But sales of premium cigars have dropped since the mid-1990s, when cigar bars were popular.