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The flue-cured tobacco industry is in a state of transition as farmers are replacing the traditional harvest methods with modern bulk curing systems. The rapid trend toward harvest mechanization experienced in 1972-75 will continue into the eighties, according to an analysis of a wide range of quota levels and wage rates. Adopting new harvest technology is profitable for farmers, and it will have an impact on the demand for harvest labor. In the aggregate, however, harvest mechanization will not cause serious unemployment problems in the flue-cured tobacco belt. During 1972-80, with increased wage rates, the decline in the number of harvest workers is projected to range from 64,000 workers, under a "high" level of production, to 199,000, under a "low" level of production. Harvest jobs are part-time and seasonal. Workers most likely to lose harvest job opportunities are young persons and women. Of tasks eliminated with bulk curing systems, more than 90 percent in 1972 were performed by young persons (mainly 12 to 15 years of age) and by women.


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