“To be an ethical, reliable and personable supplier of all types of leaf tobacco and value-added products and services to the world’s manufacturers of tobacco products.”
“Drawing on our years of expertise, our Mission is to be the preferred independent supplier of sustainable, quality leaf tobacco and services while striving to improve the welfare and environment of the communities in which we operate.”
Our Values help us to understand how to put our Purpose into practice. At Hail & Cotton, we believe our Core Values to be:
- Integrity: We build trust and long-term relationships by acting ethically, responsibly and in good faith.
- Passion: We are driven, resilient, resourceful, and love what we do.
- Teamwork: We value individual expertise while understanding the power of harnessing this into a focused momentum.
- Mutual Respect: We listen, empower, encourage creativity, and cultivate an inclusive culture.
- Dedication: We are committed to going the extra mile with all our valuable stakeholders across all facets of our business.
Our Rich History
Over 100 years ago, when Louisville flourished as the largest hogshead tobacco market in the world, Hail & Cotton began as a partnership between E.A. Hail of Adairville, KY. and M.R. Cotton of Madisonville, KY. The two made an ideal pair. Widely respected as a “tobacco expert,” Hail was considered one of the best judges of tobacco in the United States. Cotton brought his financial and marketing expertise to the partnership, structuring the company’s buying and sales efforts to the export market.
When the company incorporated in 1923, Hail was the first president until his death in 1928, when Cotton then assumed the reins of the company.
The first Hail & Cotton direct packing operation was established in 1924 in Clarksville, TN. With skilled leadership and tireless effort from employees, the company survived the Great Depression with uninterrupted service to its customers.
1930s - 1950s
As sales increased, a second factory was built in 1932 in Springfield, TN, producing primarily Dark Fire Cured and Dark Air Cured tobaccos. During this same period, Hail & Cotton participated in the export trade of Burley tobacco.
In 1937, Cotton retired from active participation in Hail & Cotton and remained Chairman of the Board until his death in 1943. Building on his legacy of leadership and service, Hail & Cotton expanded its operations to include Flue Cured tobacco in 1945, and it quickly became a reliable supplier throughout Europe.
1960s - 1980s
In 1967, the company purchased the Fields Tobacco Co. facilities in Rocky Mount, NC, adding threshing capability to service domestic strip orders. North Carolina capabilities were further upgraded with the joint-venture purchase of the China American dealer operation and the Eastern Processors processing facility.
In 1974 a new processing/storage complex was built in Springfield, TN. to service the dark tobacco business. Today, the facility provides the most complete range of processing capabilities of any factory in the Dark Fire Cured/Dark Air Cured arena, with the ability to pack redried bundles, butted leaf, tangled leaf, green prize and strip form to customer requirements.
1990s - 2010
In 1990, Hail & Cotton consolidated its operations by relocating its threshing facility and corporate headquarters to Springfield. The company continued to upgrade its processing facilities and built or acquired industrial properties in Tennessee and Kentucky to accommodate customer requirements for leaf receiving, purchasing, processing and packed storage of USA Dark Fire Cured, Dark Air Cured, Burley, and Flue Cured tobaccos.
2011 - Today
In 2011, Hail & Cotton merged with CdF International Group, a company with a history reaching back into the 1800s and to practically every corner of the world.
CdF was founded in 2007 when the businesses of Compañía General de Tabacos de Filipinas S.A. of Spain and Lippoel Leaf B.V. of the Netherlands were combined to form an independent, multinational leaf dealer.
The merger of Hail & Cotton and CdF created a multinational organization with the ability to grow, purchase, process and store leaf tobaccos from all over the world.
During this period, Hail & Cotton surpassed 100 years of being a leader in providing all types of quality tobaccos to the world.
With 100 years of experience behind us, we are looking forward to the next 100 years.
To the Future
As we reach the end of our first century and look to the next, we aim to ensure our responsibility to the planet and its people is front of mind. We are mindful of the sustainability trends of recent years and are adamant that we will not leave our efforts with this trend but maintain a sustainability-first approach for the next 100 years. We see it as our duty to stakeholders, customers and employees to reach the highest standards of social and environmental responsibility, and to implement sustainable operations across every arm of our business. We recognize our responsibility to embedding Environmental Social Governance ( ESG ) principles and our approach to being a sustainable business underpins our developing ESG strategy. Hail & Cotton does not operate in a vacuum, and as such we will strive to bring our suppliers, customers, employees and other key stakeholders along with us on our journey towards sector-leading sustainable practices.
Over the last 100 years, Hail & Cotton has built our presence in the international community and recognize that we have a responsibility to respect the communities and the environment in which we operate by making sustainable practices non-negotiable. Our role within the Sustainable Tobacco Programme enables us to reflect these values, and by ensuring the correct internal personnel are engaged we hope to make significant and ongoing sustainable improvements that extend across our business. We understand the importance of thriving communities and are committed to working with governments, industry and civil society to facilitate this.
Our management is dedicated to continually demonstrating our understanding of the responsibility to the planet and its people. Senior involvement is key to ensuring these aims are embedded in the culture of the Company and we will continue to strive to ensure this sustainable resilience is present on all levels of the business to take us above and beyond simply mandated compliance. As we pass the century milestone at this early stage of our journey, endeavour to only improve our impacts.