Professional Tobacco Curing

By Eric Hammer

Yes, tobacco curing is something which is considered to be less than "PC" today. However, it is still a legitimate way to make money. In fact, if you happen to be a smoker, you can also engage in tobacco curing to save money (although your tobacco can only be used for personal consumption - home grown and cured tobacco is not legal for sale) as well as make some money.

As a tobacco curer, you'll spend your time ensuring that the ovens are prepared properly for curing the tobacco and that the leaves are properly dried. It is a rather long and complicated process which involves a number of steps before you can consider the job done completely. It does require a great deal of skill to engage in tobacco curing and it will require you to spend the time to learn the job properly before you can be considered an expert.

How Much Can You Make?

Tobacco curing generally pays in the range of $30,000-$50,000 per year depending largely on experience. Jobs are however somewhat hard to find as tobacco products are considered less and less popular in the United States. This means that salaries could fall as the demand for jobs outstrips supply.

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While tobacco curing is a unique profession unto itself, it does overlap with other professions which may also be of interest, including growing tobacco from scratch, drying the leaves and rolling cigars. In fact, hand rolled cigars are still considered to be a sign of wealth and privilege and as such may be a way to gain extra work in tobacco curing.

Keep in mind that tobacco curing can potentially be hazardous to your health since you will be around the fumes from the tobacco as it is being dried and prepared for cigarettes and cigars. Exposure to the fumes could cause lung cancer or other health problems including emphysema and asthma. Proper precautions should be taken when engaging in tobacco curing to ensure that your lungs are protected - this means that you wear a mask while handling the leaves and that if you do it at home, you keep the area well ventilated.

Qualifications / Requirements

Tobacco curers mostly learn their jobs while working rather than going to school to learn tobacco curing. Therefore, the main requirement is that you must be over legal age and able to handle the workload of a tobacco curer.

First Steps

Start by contacting tobacco farms and cigarette manufacturers who still manufacture their products in the United States (or elsewhere if you happen to live in another country). Ask about tobacco curing jobs and what their requirements are to get a job.


Check out these helpful resources to learn more about tobacco curing as a profession:

My Majors: Tobacco Curer - A nice introduction to the world of tobacco curing and what's involved in doing the job.

Southeast Farm Press: Tobacco Curing Goes High Tech - While not specifically about getting a job in tobacco curing, this article is quite useful for those interested in the profession since it details some of the latest advances in the field of tobacco curing.

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