Discovering New York’s Unexpected Title as Tobacco Capital of the States!

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People have grown tobacco plants for hundreds of years to get their leaves, which contain nicotine and other chemicals and can be smoked, eaten, or snuffed. Tobacco is also one of the world’s most profitable crops. The tobacco business and the governments that tax it make billions of dollars each year. However, tobacco production is not spread out fairly around the world or in the US. It’s actually Chemung County in New York that stands out as the tobacco heart of the state.

Chemung County: A Brief History

In the southern part of New York, near the line with Pennsylvania, is Chemung County. It was made in 1788 from Tioga County, and it was named for the river that runs through it. The name of the river in Native American language means “big horn” or “place of the horn.” This is where the word “Chemung” comes from. A lot of important events happened in this country during the American Revolution and the Civil War. It is also where the famous author and comic Mark Twain was born.

Discovering New York's Unexpected Title as Tobacco Capital of the States!

Chemung County: A Tobacco Hub

The early 1800s were the first time that tobacco was grown in Chemung County. The land and weather in the county are good for growing tobacco, especially burley tobacco, which is used to make snuff, pipe tobacco, and chew tobacco. When burley tobacco is air-cured, it is hung in barns and dried by the air alone, without any added heat or smoke.

This method turns burley tobacco a light brown color and gives it a mild, sweet taste. New York’s Chemung County grows more burley tobacco than any other county in the state or the country. Chemung County grew 1.3 million pounds of tobacco in 2020, which was 86% of the state’s total yield, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In terms of tobacco output, the county was 12th in the country, with an average of 2,600 pounds per acre. There are about 500 tobacco farms in the county. Most of them are family-owned and run, and they hire hundreds of people during the planting, picking, and curing seasons. Several tobacco warehouses are also in the county. These are where the cured leaves are sorted, packed, and sent to tobacco makers and distributors to be sold.

Discovering New York's Unexpected Title as Tobacco Capital of the States!

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Chemung County: A Tobacco Legacy

For many generations, growing tobacco has been an important part of Chemung County’s business and culture. Every year, the county has a tobacco festival where farmers and tourists can enjoy activities related to tobacco, such as auctions, contests, exhibits, and crafts made from tobacco.

There is also a tobacco museum in the county where people can learn about the history and traditions of growing tobacco in the area. There are tobacco baskets, tobacco knives, tobacco scales, and tobacco presses on show at the museum, along with tobacco memorabilia like tobacco ads, tobacco labels, and tobacco tins.

Unfortunately, there are some problems with growing tobacco in Chemung County. Other tobacco-growing areas, like Kentucky, Tennessee, and North Carolina, are becoming more of a threat to the county. These areas have lower production costs and higher market demand. Concerns about health, smoking bans, and higher taxes in the U.S. are also making people less likely to use tobacco goods in the country.

Discovering New York's Unexpected Title as Tobacco Capital of the States!

The county also has problems with the climate, like soil erosion, water pollution, and the use of pesticides, which hurt the quality and quantity of tobacco crops. Even with all of these problems, tobacco farming in Chemung County is still a proud and strong practice that has helped shape the identity and character of the county.

Chemung County tobacco farmers are very excited about their work and are always coming up with new ideas and changing their methods to meet the needs of customers. For people in Chemung County, growing tobacco is more than just a job; it’s a way of life that has been passed down from older to younger generations.


More tobacco is grown in Chemung County than in any other county in New York. It is also one of the top tobacco-producing areas in the country. There is a long and interesting history of tobacco farming in Chemung County. It has helped the income and culture of the county.

Chemung County’s tobacco growing is also a tradition that has been passed down and is being kept alive by the dedicated and loyal tobacco farmers in the county. Tobacco growing in Chemung County is an amazing and one-of-a-kind thing that should be recognized and praised.

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