Assigning pre-defined symbols, letters, or numbers to tobacco as an indicator of its quality. The tobacco's stalk position, color, texture, elasticity, and leaf size are among the factors taken into account in the grading process. Most tobacco is graded before it is sold; the grade it receives determines (in part) the price a buyer will be willing to pay for the tobacco. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has 117 official tobacco grades. Manufacturers and leaf dealers also have their own grades that are used internally.