Trials confirmed stevia grows well in soil and climate conditions that were conducive to growing tobacco. 

PureCircle has announced a stevia farming program for North Carolina tobacco farmers. The initiative will provide a sustainable source of capital for farmers as tobacco sales continue to weaken. The project is part of PureCircle’s global program to scale up production of StarLeaf stevia while also providing domestically grown stevia to North America.

“We are proud to introduce stevia as a crop in North Carolina,” said James Foxton, vice-president of agricultural operations, PureCircle. “This program will boost the economic prospects of agriculture in that state by providing a viable alternative to tobacco.”

After successfully planting and harvesting PureCirle’s StarLeaf stevia in small trial plots this past fall, the company and its partner-farmers will significantly increase commercial production of the stevia for the next planting season. 

StarLeaf is part of the company’s long-term investment in its PureCircle Stevia Agronomy Program. It contains more than 20 times more sugar-like steviol glycoside content compared to standard stevia leaf varieties.