"We've got a home for that type of tobacco here," Rankin said. "We're not turning people down."
Tuesday was opening day for tobacco sales. Rankin said only four bales of tobacco came in all day with any traces of green leaves. What he and other's are seeing a lot more of this year, though, is yellow tobacco.
"It's average quality," said Daryl Edwards, a buyer for Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association. "It's all across the state like that."
And that can mean lower profits for farmers.
"They're getting beat over the head, the farmers are. Pounded hard," Rankin said.
But Little said he hopes tobacco companies take into consideration the hardships. If not, that could mean fewer tobacco farmers next year.
"A lot of growers are looking to see what companies do this year to see if they will grow the next year," Little said.
Middleburg tobacco farmer Troy Kleffman is among that crowd.
"(Companies) want to get it as cheap as they can," he said. "And any excuse to get it cheap, they're going to use it."
Yields bring discouragements
And this year's drought may be the excuse they're looking for. Even though Kleffman's crop turned out OK in comparison to others, yielding 3,000 pounds per acre, he understands how farmers could be discouraged from continuing the effort. He's still considering it for next year himself.
"It takes just as much to raise a sorry crop as it does a good crop," Kleffman said. "It's too much work and not enough reward."
Some farmers have received around $1.15 per pound for their crop if it is yellow or contains many green leaves. Better quality tobacco is bringing prices in the $1.70 per-pound range. Little said those numbers are reminiscent of last year's, maybe even a little more, considering incentives contract tobacco farmers receive. But the cost of fertilizing, fueling and labor has continued to rise, Rankin said.
Little said even though much of the state's tobacco crop this year may not be the best color, companies still will buy it.
"It's one of those situations that tobacco companies need Kentucky tobacco," he said. "If the crop is 100 percent green, which would never happen, it would be a different story."
Tobacco companies buy different grades of tobacco anyway, and blend it, Little added.
"I'm sure the tobacco companies are making ... a lot more than the farmers are," Kleffman said. "They are going to get it as cheap as they can. They pretty much got us where they want us because we've got so much money tied up in it. They've got us over a barrel."
And because of this situation, many farmers will sit back and watch this year's market to decide their future in tobacco farming. However, Little said, it's a Kentucky crop that's not going anywhere.
"It's a crop that will continue to grow in central Kentucky," he said. "They'll be some growers that get bigger and some that won't. But we're still going."