Tobacco Auctions Return to Lake City, South Carolina

From 1987 to the early 2000's I produced software that was used by many tobacco warehouses to manage their auctions. The software tracked each bale of tobacco through its receipt and sale. At the end of each sale the software would cut checks to each farmer, and electronically bill the buyers for their purchases.

In the early 2000's the tobacco industry transitioned to contract buying and auctions disappeared except for a few warehouses, mostly in the burley market. But in 2013, due mostly to a short crop caused by an extremely wet spring and summer, several tobacco companies turned back to auctions to help "sweeten the pot" for any excess tobacco that might be available.

Recently, I was invited to capture on video the first tobacco auction in South Carolina in nine years. It was at Carolina Tobacco Auctions in Lake City, South Carolina, owned by Jimmy and Jackie Lynch who are former customers of mine. For this sale they used the same Warehouse Assistant software we provided those years ago. Lynn Nicholson provided technical support over the phone from Clarksville, TN and Wynette Shaw was in the office to help ensure things went smoothly. Both Lynn and Wynette are former associates so it was like a homecoming of sorts. That, and the sweet aroma of tobacco on the warehouse floor really took me back to an earlier era.