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Yesterday: Golden age for golden leaf

In this Salisbury Post file photograph from the summer of 1950, J.R. Barger of Steele Township in Rowan County examines a field of tobacco along Second Creek. He told the newspaper his tobacco crop that year was the best he had ever grown. Barger was one of about 25 remaining tobacco growers in the county at that time, and his 4.6 acres in tobacco were among the biggest areas devoted to the crop here. It was only part of his 252-acre spread, which also had cotton, corn, oats and barley, wheat and sweet potatoes. He had a small herd of cattle, too, and 13 children to help on the farm. “A very conservative man with a tendency toward understatement,” the Post said, “Mr. Barger estimates his yield (of tobacco) at 1,500 pounds an acre, which is much above the state average.”

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