Applications are now being accepted for Peanut Leadership Academy Class XIII

Applications are now being accepted for Class XIII of the Peanut Leadership Academy. To be eligible for participation, candidates must derive their primary livelihood from farming and currently produce peanuts, make a commitment to the program, agree to attend all sessions except in times of illness or a family emergency, be between the ages of 22 and 45 and provide a completed application.

The Peanut Leadership Academy 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 growers from Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and sheller representatives.

During the program, participants are taught how to become more effective spokespeople for the peanut industry, develop industry relationships and further grow their leadership skills. Five sessions take place throughout the 18-month class and require approximately 20 days of travel. During the sessions, activities are structured to give participants a thorough understanding of the United States peanut industry and include industry tours, meetings with industry leaders and professional development training. Each class also has one leadership session in Washington, D.C. where participants have an opportunity to visit with members of congress on issues affecting the peanut industry.

To download a copy of the upcoming class application, visit www.southernpeanutfarmers.org. Applications must be postmarked or emailed to jessie@gapeanuts.com by Oct. 1, 2023, for consideration. The first session will begin in December 2023.

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July/August 2023 – Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The July/August 2023 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

This issue features:

  • Farmall Celebrates 100 Years
  • 2023 Peanut Harvest Guidebook
  • Peanut Leadership Academy Class XII Graduates in Music City
  • Johnson to Lead Alabama Peanut Promotion, Research Efforts
  • USA Peanut Congress Held in June
  • National Peanut Board Hosts Inaugural School Nutrition Summit
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Legislative Update
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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May/June 2023 – Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The May/June 2023 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

This issue features:

  • From Farm to Fabulous
  • 2023 Peanut Irrigation and Water Management Guidebook
  • Southern Peanut Growers Conference set for July
  • Sunbelt Ag Expo Field Day set to feature the latest updates in new technology and research
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Legislative Update
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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USPF Testifies at U.S. Senate Agriculture Subcommittee Hearing on 2023 Farm Bill

(May 3, 2023) The U.S. Senate Agriculture Subcommittee on Commodities, Risk Management, and Trade held a hearing on Tuesday, May 2, 2023, entitled “Commodity Programs, Credit, and Crop Insurance – Part 1: Producer Perspectives on the Farm Safety Net.” Representing the U.S. Peanut Federation was Karla Thompson of JET Farms Georgia and Integrity Farms in Camilla, Georgia.

Thompson’s testimony emphasized the priorities of the peanut industry for the 2023 Farm Bill, including an increase in the reference price for the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) Program. Inflation on key farm inputs, including fuel, fertilizer, and labor, have all contributed to the rising cost of production for peanut producers. According to Dr. Stanley Fletcher of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia, the 2021 cost of production was $545.97 per ton, and the 2022 cost of production is approximately $668 per ton.

During her testimony, Thompson gave anecdotal evidence supporting the rising cost of production, stating:

“On our farm alone, many of our expenses have almost doubled since 2018. Our fertilizer costs absolutely skyrocketed. We need certain fertilizers to sustain the right nutrient levels in the soil, both for the peanuts we are growing in any given season and to protect the land for the future. In the past few years, we have experienced seasons where we could barely obtain the necessary products due to supply chain issues. Supply shortages directly translated to price increases, and our fertilizer expenses have as much as doubled. Currently, fertilizer prices are changing week to week preventing us from making informed management decisions.

Labor costs have been especially challenging. We believe in taking care of our team and paying them fairly, so labor costs are a primary focus of our financial planning. Since 2018, it has become increasingly difficult to plan for and cover our labor costs. For example, we need skilled equipment operators to plant and harvest our peanuts safely and efficiently. Every year, it gets harder and harder to find local workers with those skills, and so we have come to rely on guest workers from Mexico that we recruit through the H2A visa program. The costs for the H2A program have always been high, but they have risen dramatically just this past year. In Georgia, the U.S. Department of Labor unexpectedly raised the H2A minimum wage by 14%, from $11.99 in December 2022 to $13.67 for 2023.”

Thompson also voiced the support of the U.S. Peanut Federation for a voluntary base update that includes growers with and without peanut base acres. While the 2014 Farm Bill allowed for base updating for peanut growers that already had base on their farms, it excluded many young farmers and new production areas.

During the hearing, Thompson answered questions from U.S. Senators Raphael Warnock,
D-Georgia, and Tommy Tuberville, R-Alabama, on the challenges that peanut producers are currently facing.

Senator Warnock commented, “Georgia accounts for almost half of the peanuts produced annually in the United States, and we are proud of that. That’s more than 2 billion pounds a year.” Senator Warnock asked Thompson to provide insight on the Marketing Assistance Loan (MAL) Program and peanut forfeitures.

According to Thompson’s testimony, “historically forfeitures [of peanuts] have been very low. They are typically under 5 percent. In 2017 and 2018 they were around 3 percent, in 2019 there were zero forfeitures, in 2020 it was .17 percent, and in 2021 there haven’t been any forfeitures on record. In response, Senator Warnock stated, “I take that as evidence that the Marketing Loan Program is working well for peanut farmers, and I look forward to supporting this program in this year’s Farm Bill.”

In addition to Thompson, Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and Rob Larew, president of the National Farmers Union, also testified, as well as representatives from other commodities including dry beans, sorghum, wheat, dairy, rice, cotton, soybean, sugar beet, and corn.

Watch the full hearing online at the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry website at www.agriculture.senate.gov.

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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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U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee Holds Commodity Hearing for 2023 Farm Bill

(April 27, 2023) The U.S. House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities, Risk Management, and Credit held a hearing on Tuesday, April 26, entitled “Producer Perspectives on the 2023 Farm Bill”. Representing the U.S. Peanut Federation was Daniel McMillan of Southern Grace Farms in Enigma, Georgia.

In McMillan’s testimony, he presented peanut priorities for the 2023 Farm Bill, namely an increase in the reference price for the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) Program. Over the last few years, peanut growers have seen a significant increase in the cost of production. According to Dr. Stanley Fletcher of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia, the 2021 cost of production was $545.97 per ton, and the 2022 cost of production is approximately $668 per ton.

McMillan outlined the financial stressors that peanut growers are facing on the farm, stating:

“In my home area, we saw fertilizer costs double from 2021 to 2022. Some products tripled in price. Currently, fertilizer prices are changing week to week preventing us from making informed management decisions. Commonly used fertilizers include diammonium phosphate (DAP), Potash, and Urea.

Crop protectant prices remain high which can pressure farmers to look for cheaper options, sometimes to the detriment of the crop. Labor costs continue to increase. We use H2A workers and have seen a 14% increase in labor costs through the recent U.S. Department of Labor Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR) changes. We are still facing cost increases and business disruptions resulting from problems with the supply chain. This past week, we went to a local parts store to buy a bundle of small metal sweeps for a field cultivator. A simple wear part cost $2 each in 2021 but today is $6 each. This may not sound like much, but we are seeing this across hundreds of items totaling thousands of dollars in extra costs. We have had up to six-month delays in mechanical repairs for some tractors and trucks. Due to the short supply of tractors, even rental tractors have become scarce. We saw costs for one of our rental tractors move from $2000 per month in 2019 to $3500 per month in 2023 for the same tractor. These are all increases that make it difficult to plan and budget.”

McMillan also voiced the support of the U.S. Peanut Federation for a voluntary base update that includes growers with and without peanut base acres. While the 2014 Farm Bill allowed for base updating for peanut growers that already had base on their farms, it excluded many young farmers and new production areas.

Subcommittee Chairman Austin Scott (GA-08) opened the hearing, stating “Title I programs, specifically the Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage—or ARC and PLC—were established in the 2014 Farm Bill and the reference prices used to determine assistance were set using 2012 cost of production data. Meanwhile, inflation has gone up significantly since 2012, and the price of most inputs have doubled or even tripled since 2021 alone. Farm sector debt is at record high levels, and net farm income is expected to fall 16 percent from 2022 to 2023. These warning signs underscore the importance of our work in the 2023 Farm Bill.

In addition to McMillan, nine other representatives of commodity crop groups testified, including corn, cotton, dry pea and lentil, rice, canola, soybean, sugar cane, wheat, and sorghum.

Rep. David Rouzer (NC-07) closed the hearing by asking each of the witnesses, if they had to choose, what would be the one thing that would be adjusted in the 2023 Farm Bill. McMillan provided the final answer of the hearing, stating “if peanut producers could have one thing, within the PLC program, the framework works, but we need a reference price increase to have a viable safety net.”

Watch the full hearing 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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Alabama Peanut Referendum Passes

(April 21, 2023) Alabama peanut farmers voted to continue the current assessment on peanuts collected by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and administered by the Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA). In a referendum conducted April 20, 2023, ninety-one percent of those who voted said “yes” to continuing APPA’s programs in education, promotion and research.

For the continuance referendum to pass, a majority of eligible producers voting needed to vote in favor of continuing the assessment. Growers who produced peanuts in 2020, 2021, and 2022 were eligible to vote.

The referendum for peanuts is conducted every three years, which is a requirement of the Alabama Legislature. However, a bill was passed recently to change the requirement to every 5 years after 2026.

“The check-off funds we receive fund production research, grower, and consumer education. It’s important that we continue to promote our nutrient-packed peanuts, peanut butter, and other peanut products,” says Carl Sanders, APPA president and farmer from Coffee County, Alabama. “The referendum results are indicative of the great work APPA does on behalf of our peanut farmers.”

In the last three years:
• More than $500,000 has been invested toward peanut production research in partnership with Auburn University and Alabama Cooperative Extension System, which directly benefits Alabama peanut farmers. This research has contributed to yield increases and more efficient production practices.
• More than $600,000 has been utilized in peanut promotion activities around the state, contributing to increased peanut and peanut butter consumption. Peanut allergy education efforts and early introduction recommendations have been promoted to Alabama pediatricians and parents.
• More than $400,000 has been allocated to grower education to share relevant research results, legislative information and other pertinent information for Alabama growers. This information is dispersed through grower production meetings, the APPA website (alpeanuts.com), quarterly newsletters, social media, and emails. The annual Alabama-Florida Peanut Trade Show is supported by these funds as well.

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April 2023 – Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The April 2023 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

This issue features:

  • Peanut Leadership Academy Travels to Washington, D.C.
  • Women in Agriculture Spotlight featuring Wendy Yeager, farmer in Orville, Alabama
  • 2023 Peanut Disease & Insect Guidebook
  • International Conference on Precision Agriculture set for May in Athens, Georgia
  • Florida Peanut Producers Association holds 47th annual meeting, Chad Davis named Young Peanut Farmer of the Year
  • Southern Peanut Growers Conference set for July
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Washington Outlook
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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Alabama Peanut Referendum Vote Set for April 20

(April 3, 2023) Notice is hereby given that the Alabama peanut referendum will be held on April 20, 2023, during established office hours between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. To obtain a list of the 2023 polling places, growers can contact the Alabama Peanut Producers Association office at 334-792-6482, any APPA Board member or visit the association website at www.alpeanuts.com.

All persons engaged in the production of peanuts in Alabama for the years 2020, 2021 and 2022 shall be eligible to vote.

In the event the referendum is carried by a majority of those voting, then the assessment will be collected upon an order of the Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries to all persons, firms and corporations engaged in the business of purchasing peanuts in this state by deducting from the purchase price of peanuts at the rate of twelve and one-half cents ($0.125) per one hundred pounds of peanuts sold.

Find Polling Locations

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Peanut Butter Donation Made for Tornado Relief

Peanut butter donation at the Autauga Interfaith Care Center – pictured (l-r) Heather Smith, Alabama Ag Credit, Amber Pratt, Alabama Ag Credit, Harold Gaines, Autauga County Farmers Federation and Alabama peanut farmer, Denise Brown, Autauga Interfaith Care Center, Gary Weaver, Autauga EMA, Keith McCurdy, First South Farm Credit.

(March 22, 2023) The Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA) partnered with Alabama Ag Credit, First South Farm Credit, Autauga County Famers Federation and Dallas County Farmers Federation to donate Peanut Proud peanut butter to the communities in Dallas and Autauga counties devastated by tornadoes in January 2023. While recovery efforts continue in the areas affected by the tornadoes, there are families still displaced from their homes. The peanut butter will provide these families with a much-needed nutritious food source that doesn’t have to be refrigerated and has a long shelf life.

“Peanut butter is the perfect disaster food,”

Peanut butter donation at the Selma Area Food Bank – pictured (front – back) Kaye Lynn Hataway, Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Jeff Harrison, Selma Area Food Bank, Amber Pratt, Alabama Ag Credit, Andy Leslie, First South Farm Credit, Dale Williamson, Alabama Ag Credit.

said Harold Gaines, an Autauga County peanut farmer. “It is non-perishable and provides nutrients in one perfect bite.”

The peanut butter was delivered on Thursday, March 16, 2023 to the Autauga Interfaith Care Center in Prattville, Alabama, and the Selma Area Food Bank in Selma, Alabama. Each location received four pallets of Peanut Proud peanut butter. That’s a total of 11,530 pounds of peanut butter – enough to make 161,280 peanut butter sandwiches!

Special thanks to Southern Ag Carriers for delivering the peanut butter to Prattville and Selma.

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The Alabama Peanut Producers Association represents the interests of Alabama peanut farmers through education, promotion and research.

Peanut Proud, Inc. is the humanitarian arm of the peanut industry and assist peanut-producing states in responding to natural disasters by supplying peanut butter. To make a donation, visit www.peanutproud.org. 

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March 2023 – Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The March 2023 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

This issue features:

  • Plant Populations – Knowing When to Replant Peanuts
  • 2023 Peanut Weed Guidebook
  • Spraying Tips for 2023
  • 2023 Alabama-Florida Peanut Trade Show a Success
  • Mississippi Holds 2023 Annual Meeting
  • Special Review of the Georgia Peanut Farm Show
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Washington Outlook
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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