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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Peanut Leadership Academy Class XIII hosts first session

Twenty-seven peanut growers and sheller representatives from across the Southeast, Arkansas, Texas and the Virginia-Carolina area began Class XIII of the Peanut Leadership Academy Jan. 8-11, 2024, in Savannah, Georgia. The Peanut Leadership Academy is hosted by the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation and is a cooperative effort between Syngenta Crop Protection, the American Peanut Shellers Association and grower organizations. The program began in 1998 with the first class of 14 peanut growers from Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Since then, the academy has grown to include farmers from Arkansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and sheller representatives.

Activities in the leadership program are structured to give participants a thorough understanding of the U.S. peanut industry. Throughout the course of 18 months and five sessions, program attendees participate in sessions ranging from field trips, meetings with industry leaders and professional development training, as well as one session in Washington, D.C., where class members have an opportunity to visit with members of Congress about issues affecting the peanut industry. During this time, class members build on leadership skills, discuss and debate key industry issues and build relationships.

During the first session, the class members participated in leadership team building skills, etiquette training and learned more about the entire peanut industry while joining the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation annual meeting. Participants in PLA Class XIII include: Cutchin Anderson, Tarboro, North Carolina; Eric Bailey, Waverly, Virginia; Emmanuel Bankston with Golden Peanut; Miles Birdsong with Birdsong Peanuts; Sean Brannen, Statesboro, Georgia; August Cassebaum, Lillian, Alabama; Jay Corte, Daphne, Alabama; Riley Davis, Parrott, Georgia; Garrett Dixon, Salem, Alabama; Heath Donner, Manila, Arkansas; Trevor Dyer with Sandy Land Peanut; Henry Froese, Seagraves, Texas; Lonnie Gilbert, Marianna, Florida; Chad Harris with Olam; Judson Hornsby, Iron City, Georgia; Douglas Jarrell, Estill, South Carolina; Cason Kirkland with Premium Peanut; Will Krause, Unadilla, Georgia; Kirk Martin, Brownfield, Texas; Daniel McMillan, Enigma, Georgia; Jess McNeill, Americus, Georgia; Phillip Melvin, Altha, Florida; Travis Mixon, Dothan, Alabama; Garrett Moore, Chancellor, Alabama; Cody Robinson, Williston, Florida; Chase Trimble with Coastal Growers; and Emily Williams with the National Peanut Board.

Session two of Class XIII is scheduled for March 17-20, 2024. For more information on the Peanut Leadership Academy, contact PLA director, Jessie Bland at jessie@gapeanuts.com or visit www.southernpeanutfarmers.org.

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State Peanut Organizations Seek National Peanut Board Nominees

The Georgia Peanut Commission, Texas Peanut Producers Board and South Carolina Peanut Board are seeking eligible peanut producers who are interested in serving on the National Peanut Board.

Nomination election meetings will be held to select two nominees each for member and alternate from each state to serve on the National Peanut Board. All eligible producers are encouraged to participate. Eligible producers are those who are engaged in the production and sale of peanuts and who own or share the ownership and risk of loss of the crop.

USDA requires two nominees from each state for each position of member and alternate. The National Peanut Board will submit each state’s slate of nominees to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, who makes the appointments.

The National Peanut Board encourages inclusion of persons of any race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation and marital or family status. NPB encourages all persons who qualify as a peanut producer in each respective state to attend the meeting and run for nomination.

It is USDA’s policy that membership on industry-government board and committees accurately reflect the diversity of individuals served by the program.

The schedule is as follows:

The Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) seeks eligible peanut producers who are interested in serving on the National Peanut Board. The GPC will hold a nominations election to select two nominees each for member and alternate to the National Peanut Board at their meeting on February 7, 2024, during the GPC Research Report Day at the Environmentally Sound Production Agriculture Laboratory, located on the University of Georgia Tifton Campus, 2360 Rainwater Road, Tifton, Georgia.

Casey Cox Kerr of Camilla is the current Georgia National Peanut Board member and Wesley Webb of Leary serves as the alternate. The term for the current Georgia board member and alternate expires Dec. 31, 2024.

The South Carolina Peanut Board (SCPB) seeks eligible peanut producers who are interested in serving on the National Peanut Board. The South Carolina Peanut Board will hold a nominations election to select two nominees each for member and alternate to the National Peanut Board during a meeting on March 13th, 2024 at 4 PM at the Buddy Jennings Building at the State Farmers Market in West Columbia.

Neal Baxley of Marion is the current South Carolina National Peanut Board member and Doug Jarrell of Estill serves as the alternate. The term for the current South Carolina board member and alternate expires Dec. 31, 2024.

The Texas Peanut Producers Board (TPPB) seeks eligible peanut producers who are interested in serving on the National Peanut Board. The TPPB will hold a nominations election to select two nominees each for member and alternate to the National Peanut Board on March 20, 2024, at 9:00 AM CST at the Hilton Southlake Towne Square Hotel, 1400 Plaza Place, Southlake, Texas.

Jeff Roper of Lubbock is the current Texas National Peanut Board Member, and Mason Becker of Brownfield serves as the alternate. The term for the current Texas board member and alternate expires December 31, 2024.

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