Praise for 

Farming in the Black Patch



I just completed reading your book, Farming in the Black Patch. I enjoyed every word and photo as each brought back a flood of memories. I grew up raising burley only but I experienced every word in the glossary except, The Trust and Tobacco notes.


The majority of my life on the farm was as the son of a tenant farmer. Our crop amounted to about 1 ½ acres but of course I got the pleasure of helping other family members and neighbors. Think I started working in the field, hoeing tobacco, when I was about 9-10 years old. And there were days after that I got the pleasure of working the field all by myself given I was an only child.


But I reflect back knowing three important things; (1) my father trusted me enough to do the job he could not because he was working another job away from the farm, (2) I always did the best I could knowing that was what Dad would have done and I knew his efforts always produced fruit and (3) manual labor in God’s earth and under His hot sun do wonders for developing character that carries over into every part of one’s life.


Clearly, you captured the importance and influence of a now much maligned product today that has served admirably in the past to provide the necessities of life for many a quality individual, past and present.


Clyde Tharp, Shelbyville, Kentucky


“Bobbie Smith Bryant has a gift for tapping the rich veins of Kentucky’s rural heritage and sharing it through pictures and stories. In this, her latest book, she takes us into the tobacco fields of the Black Patch region, behind the barn doors of a farm culture known for its dark tobacco. For generations, western Kentucky farmers have grown the dark leaf as a cash crop: to feed and clothe their families, educate their children, and help build their communities. These farm families are inseparably linked to a way of life that may soon be gone. Thank you, Bobbie, for an important story, well told.”

                                    – Byron Crawford,

 Kentucky Living magazine



“A native of West Kentucky, Bobbie Smith Bryant blends her family past, tobacco history, individual accounts, hundreds of photographs, and more to craft a strong story of those families who have made a living and a life from growing tobacco. In Farming in the Black Patch, she evocatively reminds us again of the many rural Kentucky traditions that are fast fading away, while she preserves parts of that past in her insightful illustrations and clear commentary. But more than that, Bryant spotlights the work ethic, the art, and the craftsmanship that is involved in producing the leaves of dark _red tobacco. It is a story of a crop. It is a story of a region. It is a story of a people. And she tells that story well.”    

 – James C. Klotter, Professor of History, Georgetown College and the State Historian of Kentucky



“Around Murray, Kentucky dark tobacco is essentially THE cash crop! It not only provided every penny of my education but it literally put food on our table growing up. I distinctly remember annual visitors to our farm who didn’t know about this crop that stopped to tell us, “Hey, your barn is on fire.” The dark tobacco farmers of our region have a rich history of economic and cultural contribution to our society. No family has a richer tradition in dark tobacco than that of the Smith family. In her latest book, Ms. Bryant builds on this tradition by documenting the dark _red tobacco production process. _is process is as much an art as it is a

science. Through this effort and the continuing work of these hard working dark tobacco producers, this industry will continue to contribute greatly to our economic and cultural system.”


– Dr. Tony Brannon, Dean, Hutson School of Agriculture





Setting tobacco at Smith Farms