In September, tobacco farmers in Wilson County were scurrying to harvest cutters, the second stage of the crop. Every year is different. This season started with a lot of rain, followed by a dry spell. By mid-August, according to Norman Harrell, director of Wilson County’s office of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension, the crop was looking great, and then it started maturing rapidly. Cooler temperatures then gave harvesters a fighting chance to get viable leaves into curing facilities. Markets opened early in August with prices typically running between $1 and $1.25 per pound. Some growers were getting $2.35 per pound for the first, or leaf, stage. Geographic variations in weather have caused crops to be “all” colors and qualities. Growers are trying to recover from two consecutive years of bad crops. This year, 9,800 acres will be harvested, compared to last year’s 8,500. Wilson used to be the world’s largest tobacco market, but it has since been surpassed by Zimbabwe and possibly Brazil. It remains first in various categories, though, being a beneficiary of market consolidation.