A Cotton Picking Land Rush

As a boy, Ward McCoy knew summer was dying when the air grew moist with the sweet smell of curing tobacco. For three generations now, the McCoy spread in North Carolina's coastal lowlands has been a tobacco farm. But that heritage means little with antismoking campaigns stubbing out demand for cigarettes. So this spring, rather than invest $80,000 in new tobacco-growing equipment, the McCoys won't raise any tobacco. Rather, they'll grow cotton on every one of their 1,200 acres. "If I stayed with tobacco and the market went out, it might take me out with it," says McCoy, 33.

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