Our 21st Century “Tobacco Great!”


(A tribute to Dr. Bill Collins – NC State University for Lifetime Achievement)


February 6, 2014


Verse 1


If you make your living from tobacco, then you’re part of a sacred clan –

You simply identify yourself by saying, “I’m a Tobacco Man!”

And then with other kindred souls,

You pause to congratulate –

A member of “The Family”, who’s become a “Tobacco Great.”


Our Constitution was written on the back of tobacco leaves –

A declaration from our nation,

Proclaiming the Golden Weed.

Somewhere in our nation’s archives is a tablet cut from stone –

A roll call of Tobacco Greats,

But one name stands alone.


Now in the 21st century, he continues to participate –

With a passion for tobacco research,

On behalf of NC State.


He’s tobacco’s mediator and advocate, redeeming the good, while purging the bad –

Why he’s the undisputed best friend a tobacco crop’s ever had!


Tobacco’s now been liberated from a stagnant penitentiary –

And there’s a growing need for the golden weed, now in the 21st century.

Now, who on earth could have orchestrated such a serendipitous stroke of fate? –

None other than Dr. Bill Collins, our 21st Century Tobacco Great!!

Verse 2


A member of the “Greatest Generation”, familiar with difficult chores –

Recalling the day “Lucky Strike Green” decided to go to war.


The perennial host of Extension’s annual “Research on Wheels” -

Starting down in Georgia with the gnats and moonshine stills.


He was the man in the caravan who cried out, “Lock n’ Load” –

And they would embark and drive till dark, to more “on farm” tests down the road.


A tobacco program unequalled with NC State a leadin’ –

Rendered by Dr. Collins, Professor Todd and Gerald Peedin.

The familiar voice of the “Tobacco Short Course” and “Production Meetings” galore –

Also, “Continuing Ed”, and it can’t be said, what else he has in store.


A solid alliance for “Agricultural Science”, resounding with great repute –

Taught at the four year college, as well as the Agricultural Institute.

A teachable moment is recognized, “Plow out your roots and cut your stalks” -


Principles of Tobacco Production,

by Dr. Collins and Professor Hawks


His career has been providential, blessed by the Good Lord’s fate –

From Vance County to State College,

The destiny of this “Tobacco Great.”


Verse 3


An “emeritus alumnus” of the Cooperative Extension –

A renowned tobacco specialist of international dimensions.

First and foremost, a college professor –

Today, he’s revered as a “Tobacco Ambassador.”


He helped dismantle the “Berlin Wall” –

When Reagan told Gorbachev, “The fence must fall!”

Capitalism broke the “Iron Curtain” down –

And all over Europe, “U.S. Flue Cured” was found.


No telling, now, how many miles he’s logged –

From the Dominican Republic to the antiquities of Prague.

He’s advised the Turks in Asia Minor –


While blazing new frontiers in the Peoples’ Republic of China.

Proclaiming U.S. Flue Cured as the world’s very best –

Evangelizing the golden weed throughout Hungary and Budapest.

In years gone by he visited Rhodesia –


And he knows about tobacco grown in Croatia.

With cutting edge technology, he kept plugging the dikes –

Down in Brazil with Dr. Larry Sykes.


Tobacco abroad has seen valleys and peaks –

For years he’s gone to Europe to work with the Greeks.

Yes, Dr. Bill Collins is his name –

His dedication to tobacco has garnered international fame.

Wherever he goes, he’s haulin’ freight –

Our 21st Century “Tobacco Great!”.


Verse 4


First and foremost, he’s an innovator –

Substituting “contacts” in the place of “hand labor.”

Always striving to do the farmers’ a favor –

Chemically “topping tobacco” is a proven labor saver.


Controlling suckers is now a documented fact –

With well-timed applications of a “premium” contact.

“MH-free” tobacco has been successfully tried –

But don’t abandon the proper use of maleic hydrazide.


He advises tobacco farmers, “not to be spillin’” –

“And for Heaven’s sake, use the labeled rate, and keep it under 80 parts per million!”

Clipping tobacco “plant beds” using a lawn mower –

“Was hard to convince his father-in-law, a Vance County tobacco grower.”


By adjusting the blade so the leaves could be clipped –

Soon all the plants “got together,” after making several trips.

In the meantime, Dr. Bill received the strangest looks –

From Mr. Turner, his father-in-law, affectionately known as “Daddy Brooks.”


Later, “Daddy Brooks,” calmed Dr. Bill’s fears –

When he said, “We’ve been using a lawn mower on our plant bed for years!”

Now, blazing new trails and plowing new ground –

Dr. Collins has a theory that’s simply profound.


Predicting in the future, farmers will get added mileage –

By handling their tobacco crops, just like combining silage??

Making recommendations that are always up-to-date –

“Our 21st Century “Tobacco Great.”

Verse 5


He’s had so many accolades, “pressed down and shaken together” –

Research abiding, new revelations to discover.


Today, at the College, he teaches “Leadership” –

While busily funding additional tobacco scholarships.

Wanting to start a program tangible and scholastic –

His family has funded an endowment that is generously altruistic.


Being prudent, helping students get an education –

Providing resources that can be used for future generations.

This act of philanthropy will prove profoundly great –

And will fund the tobacco program carried-on at NC State.


So, here’s to Dr. Collins, an expert in his field –

A gentleman, a scholar, a true “Chesterfield.”


Remember, he’s one of “The Family,” you’ll always know where he stands –

In gratitude and thanksgiving he’ll say, “I’m just a tobacco man!”

For his service to his fellowmen, we all appreciate –

Thank you!  Dr. Collins, our 21st Century Tobacco Great!!


And when the dust has settled, he’ll tell you without fail –

“Don’t take any wooden nickels, because the check is in the mail!”


By:  Parker Philips

       Fair Products, Inc. Company Representative

       PO Box 751

       Battleboro, NC  27809

       (919) 349-5494