U.S.Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Boozman Releases Farm Bill Framework

(June 13, 2024 – WASHINGTON, D.C.) U.S. Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR) released the Senate Republican-drafted framework for the 2024 Farm Bill. The legislation addresses the top priorities of the U.S. Peanut Federation:

  • The maintaining of the Price Loss Coverage Program
  • A reference price increase that reflects the increases in the cost of production since the 2018 Farm Bill
  • A voluntary base update

Senator Boozman’s framework reflects what he heard from peanut growers, shellers, and buying points across the peanut belt. Senator Boozman and his team visited peanut farms and processors and heard first-hand the impact of increases in the cost of production, struggles with agricultural financing, labor shortages, trade barriers, and a need for a voluntary base update.

In a letter to Ranking Member Boozman, the USPF stated, “The United States Peanut Federation sincerely appreciates the challenging work that went into producing the recently released 2024 Senate Farm Bill framework. This proposal reflects what you have heard from the peanut industry and from Production Agriculture across the U.S. We support this proposal and encourage the Senate to move forward with a bipartisan Farm Bill this year.”

USPF is comprised of peanut growers, shellers, and buying points and have been unified in their efforts throughout the Farm Bill process. The peanut industry’s priority is a meaningful increase in the reference price for the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program. The historic rise in input costs and cost of production make a reference price increase a necessity to keep the farm safety net intact. USPF is pleased that this proposal includes a significant increase in reference price for peanuts in the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program. The legislation also addresses other peanut priorities, including a provision for a voluntary base update which will be essential for young farmers and new production areas that have not been able to utilize safety net programs to date.

USPF Chairman Jamie Brown commented, “In our testimony before the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee, meetings on Capitol Hill, and in the peanut belt, we have emphasized the increased costs of production for growers and need for a reference price increase. In addition, we have supported a voluntary base update that assured a pathway for young growers and equity for peanut production regions of the U.S. that did not have peanut base. Senator Boozman’s framework addresses our top priorities.”

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The U.S. Peanut Federation represents the peanut industry in Washington, D.C. and was founded by the American Peanut Shellers Association, the National Peanut Buying Points Association and the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation.

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U.S. House Agriculture Committee Approves Farm Bill

(May 24, 2024 – WASHINGTON, D.C.) The U.S. House Committee on Agriculture voted to pass the Farm Bill, titled “The Farm, Food, and National Security Act of 2024” in a 33-21 vote. Four democrats – Reps. Sanford Bishop (GA-02), Yadira Caraveo (CO-08), Don Davis (NC-01), and Eric Sorenson (IL-17) – joined with all Republican Committee members in voting yes on this legislation.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Peanut Federation sent a letter to U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson in support of the legislation, stating: “The United States Peanut Federation sincerely appreciates the hard work that went into producing the 2024 Farm Bill. This legislation will support peanut producers who have been struggling in recent years due to increases in farm inputs, labor shortages, trade barriers, and supply chain disruptions.”

Throughout the Farm Bill process, the peanut industry has been united in its priorities, namely a meaningful increase in the reference price for the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program. The historic rise in input costs and cost of production make a reference price increase a necessity to keep the farm safety net intact. This legislation includes a 17.8 percent increase in reference price for peanuts in the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, bringing the reference price from $535/ton to $630/ton.

The legislation also includes other peanut priorities, including a provision for a one-time voluntary base update which will be essential for young farmers and new production areas that have not been able to utilize safety net programs to date.

Peanut-state Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08) stated: “As Vice Chair of the House Agriculture Committee, I am pleased that several of my priorities to ensure a strong farm safety net were included in this legislation, and I appreciate the bipartisan support for final passage through committee.”

“The U.S. Peanut Federation appreciates the hard work of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee in drafting this Farm Bill and passing it out of committee,” stated USPF Chairman Jamie Brown. “The peanut industry has struggled in recent years due to increases in farm inputs, labor shortages, trade barriers, and supply chain disruptions. Yesterday’s markup was an important first step in getting producers the assistance they need to continue to produce our nation’s food, fuel, and fiber. USPF applauds the Members of Congress who supported farm communities by voting to advance this important legislation.”

Following the markup, U.S. House Agriculture Committee Chairman G.T. Thompson said that he does not expect the legislation to be considered on the House Floor before September due to the busy appropriations schedule for the upcoming months.

Find more information about this legislation, including the full bill text, here.

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The United States Peanut Federation (USPF) is comprised of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, the American Peanut Shellers Association, and the National Peanut Buying Points Association. USPF serves as a unified voice in Washington, D.C. for all sectors of the peanut industry and advocates actively for strong agricultural policy. For additional information, please contact the USPF at (202) 543-7464.

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May/June 2024 – Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The May/June 2024 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

This issue features:

  • MANA Nutrition expands
  • 2024 Peanut Irrigation & Water Management Guidebook
  • Sunbelt Ag Expo Field Research spans two weeks
  • Southern Peanut Growers Conference set for July
  • Branch inducted into Georgia Agricultural Hall of Fame
  • UGA Tifton announces precision agriculture demonstration laboratory
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Legislative Update
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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Peanut farmers approve the Georgia Peanut Commission by 91 percent

GPClogo300dpiRGBThe Georgia Peanut Commission’s referendum received reaffirmation with a vote of 91.99 percent during the recent referendum, held March 8 through April 8, 2024.

“I appreciate the farmers’ confidence in the commission, and we are committed to continue earning that confidence,” says Joe Boddiford, farmer from Sylvania, Georgia, and GPC chairman. “The commission continues to work together as a partnership between Georgia’s peanut farmers and the commission board and staff, in funding research projects, promoting peanuts and working on the farmers’ behalf in Washington, D.C. All of these combined efforts allow us to provide a healthy, nutritious product for consumers and help keep farmers profitable for the future.”

As required by Georgia state law, the state’s peanut farmers vote on the commission every three years. The ballots were mailed to peanut growers the week of March 8 and the Certified Public Accounting firm of Allen, Pritchett and Bassett counted the ballots returned on May 1.

“Our staff is humbled by the support of peanut farmers in Georgia,” says Don Koehler, GPC’s executive director. “We will continue to seek opportunities through programs in research, education and promotion to enhance profit opportunities on the farm.”

Georgia peanut farmers invest $2 per ton annually to the commission to be used in the program areas of research, promotion and education. For additional information on the Georgia Peanut Commission and its activities, visit www.gapeanuts.com.

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Why it’s critical we act now on peanut sustainability

Dan Ward is a seventh-generation grower in Southeastern North Carolina. He currently serves as chair of the American Peanut Council’s sustainability committee and as president of the North Carolina Peanut Growers Association.

by Dan Ward

When someone asks what sustainability means to me, I pull out my phone and show them a photo of my two-year-old granddaughter, Blakely.  In 20 to 25 years, I want Blakely to have the choice of becoming the ninth generation of our family to carry on our farm. For that to happen, I must stop and think about every operating decision I make and ask if what I’m doing today will help her make that decision. Critically, I must make sure our farm is productive and profitable so that if she decides to farm, there’s a farm for her to come back to.

For peanut growers to be productive and profitable we need to increase demand for peanuts, and in our current market one of the biggest drivers for demand is quickly becoming sustainability. As manufacturers increasingly must meet consumer, investor, and regulatory demands for sustainable farming practices, we are going to have to prove and document peanut sustainability.

We are already seeing this come to play in peanut export markets as our trading partners are progressively having sustainability expectations. Our competitors are hard at work documenting and demonstrating their peanut sustainability. It would be a sad situation for the U.S. to have an over-supply problem with growers having to accept lower contracts, all because foreign competitors have proven their sustainability, thus meeting those market demands.

Sustainability is not going anywhere. It’s only going to become more critical with each passing year. Currently, growers are in control and can help shape the process. But if we don’t voluntarily act now, the peanut industry could instead easily become a victim of onerous regulations and lost market share, which we’ve seen happen to other agriculture commodities.

That’s why I am committed to the Sustainable U.S. Peanuts Initiative.

In its third crop enrollment year, Sustainable U.S. Peanuts, or SUSP for short, is a voluntary, industry-wide and industry-supported initiative. It is buoying America’s peanut farmers with metrics on the most efficient use of on-farm resources, as well as encouraging farm operation sustainability practices that will help meet expectations, lead to increased demand for peanuts and set the stage for long-term economic viability.

Here’s how it works: Growers enroll by completing a self-assessment questionnaire and field-level survey. All farm information is private and is not shared with anyone. This is very important and bears repeating. Your farm information will never be shared. Joe A. will never be privy to his neighbor Mary B’s farm information, and neither will the government nor the industry.

Once enrolled in the SUSP, participants will need to maintain their involvement by annually updating their information, which is much faster after a grower’s initial enrollment. Are you part of the Cotton Trust Protocol? Great news! You can join that account with Sustainable U.S. Peanuts to streamline your enrollment.

Importantly, SUSP promotes the entire U.S. crop, not individual states or regions. That is why it’s critical to have peanut farmers from West Texas all the way to Southeast Virginia participate in the program. All peanut farmers’ voices must be heard for SUSP to be truly representative.

Peanuts have an incredible sustainability story. They have the smallest carbon footprint of any nut and ounce for ounce use significantly less water than tree nuts. Peanuts are a zero-waste crop since all parts of the plant are utilized, and they require less fertilizer to grow since they are nitrogen-fixing. I would hate to think we have this great story to tell and yet miss our opportunity to sell more peanuts, or let someone enjoy our peanuts, because we aren’t taking that extra step to demonstrate peanut sustainability.

So, what does success look like? For the peanut industry, it would be ensuring the long-term economic viability of growers; satisfying the sustainability interests of buyers, consumers and trading partners; and increasing demand for peanuts – both domestically and globally – without it being forced on growers.

Personally, success for me would be leaving our family farm in the best possible shape for my granddaughter Blakely to one day take the reins, if she chooses. I want her to have that choice because we have made smart decisions and done all the rights things to ensure a farming business that lasts, and one she can be proud of.

Learn more about Sustainable U.S. Peanuts Initiative and enroll your farm at: sustainableuspeanuts.org.

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April 2024 – Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The April 2024 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

This issue features:

  • Unstoppable – DeVane continues to farm despite health challenges
  • 2024 Peanut Disease & Insect Guidebook
  • Peanut Leadership Academy Class XIII hosts second session
  • Southern Peanut Growers Conference set for July
  • Florida Peanut Producers Association holds 48th annual meeting
  • USDA and UGA break ground on new agriculture research facility in Tifton
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Legislative Update
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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Georgia Peanut Commission approves funding for FY 2024-2025 research projects

The Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) board of directors has approved $791,639 in research project funding for the 2024-25 research budget year. This action was taken during the commission’s March board meeting. The research projects approved include 40 project proposals submitted from the University of Georgia, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

“As a peanut grower, I’m proud to invest in the Georgia Peanut Commission and in the future of the peanut industry by supporting research that continues to demonstrate a return on our investment,” says Donald Chase, GPC Research Committee chairman. “We are proud of our partnership with research institutions and look forward to seeing the results which will benefit farmers in the state and enhance the sustainability of our crop.”

Georgia’s peanut growers invest $2 per ton annually toward GPC programs which includes research, promotion and education. The research programs primarily focus on peanut breeding, conservation methods, irrigation and water management, as well as, pests, weed and disease management.

The GPC board of directors approved additional projects focusing on non-food uses of peanuts. The projects aim to provide a new opportunity for growth within the peanut industry. The new projects are looking at utilizing high-oleic peanuts in poultry feed, converting peanut oil from a non-drying oil to a drying oil for timber oils and coatings, reviewing George Washington Carver’s peanut uses for application in today’s world and finding new non-food applications of peanuts and by-products.

Additionally, GPC manages funding for the Southeastern Peanut Research Initiative which includes research funding of $1,557,580 for projects in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. These projects are funded through the National Peanut Board checkoff dollars from farmers.

For additional information and a complete list of the research projects funded by the Georgia Peanut Commission visit www.gapeanuts.com.

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Georgia Peanut Commission holds referendum March 8 – April 8

GPClogo300dpiRGBThe Georgia Peanut Commission will hold a referendum March 8 through April 8 giving peanut producers an opportunity to vote on reaffirming the commission. State law mandates a referendum be held every three years. Georgia peanut producers invest $2 per ton to fund the commission and its research, education, promotion and communication programs.

The last referendum in 2021 passed with a 94.43 percent reaffirmation.

“I urge all peanut producers to vote in this referendum. Research, education, and promotion continue to be the core focus of the commission,” says Joe Boddiford, GPC chairman. “It is extremely important for growers to continue to focus their efforts on supporting research and promotional efforts through their checkoff dollars. One way for farmers to do that is by continuing their support of the Georgia Peanut Commission.”

GPC Executive Director Don Koehler urges producers to contact him by email at don@gapeanuts.com or 229-386-3470 if they have any questions about the commission’s activities or the referendum.

Peanut producers who do not receive a ballot may obtain one by calling the commission. The commission requests that anyone who receives a ballot but is no longer farming to write, “no longer producing” on the certification envelope and return it to the commission. This will assist the commission in updating its mailing list. The commission’s address is P.O. Box 967, Tifton, Georgia 31793.

The Certified Public Accounting Firm of Allen, Pritchett, and Bassett will count the votes.

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U.S. Peanut Federation Travels to Washington, D.C. for Spring Fly-In

March 8, 2024, WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives from the U.S. Peanut Federation (USPF) traveled to Washington, D.C. this week for their annual Spring Fly-In. During the trip, USPF representatives met with key members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, as well as senior agricultural staff to discuss issues facing the peanut industry today. The USPF Fly-In is essential to connect with Congress about peanut industry priorities, especially since Farm Bill programs are up for reauthorization in 2024.

During their meetings, representatives of the U.S. Peanut Federation discussed the rising costs of production for peanuts, the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, and peanut priorities for the Farm Bill.

Rising input costs, supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and low prices have all contributed to the difficult conditions peanut farmers are facing today. Without an effective safety net, peanut growers will continue to struggle, and that is the message that USPF representatives voiced on Capitol Hill.

While USPF representatives were in D.C., the U.S. House of Representatives approved a six-bill government funding package ahead of the March 8 deadline. This package includes the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations legislation, which funds the U.S. Department of Agriculture for Fiscal Year 2024. The second set of appropriations bills are under consideration and expire March 22.

In late 2023, the U.S. Congress passed a 1-year extension of Farm Bill programs at the same levels authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill. USPF representatives heard from Members of Congress and staff this week that while the Farm Bill has been extended, the work is ongoing. However, there is uncertainty to whether or not a Farm Bill is considered this year.

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March 2024 – Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The March 2024 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

This issue features:

  • Seeding Success – New Technology Helps Farmers at Planting
  • 2024 Peanut Weed Guidebook
  • Six Wiregrass Schools Taking Part in Unique Peanut Research this Spring
  • Georgia Peanut Commission Referendum set for March 8 – April 8
  • Peanut Leadership Academy Class XIII Meets in Savannah
  • USDA Announces Voting Period for Continuance Referendum for National Peanut Research and Promotion Board
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Legislative Update
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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