Monday, May 27, 2024

Is South Carolina committed to peanuts? You betcha.

Amanda Huber

Among the many great character traits of my granddaddy, now 104, is that no matter your reason for visiting his house, if he is able to give you something or serve you in some way, he is happy. Be it a glass of water or a T-bone steak, he wants you to have something. Hospitality is truly important to him.

Having visited South Carolina many times now, I realize most South Carolinians are the same way. Recently, I attended the National Peanut Buying Points Association annual meeting in Charleston. No doubt, Charleston is a beautiful historic
city, but no matter the setting, South Carolinians, at least those I know in the peanut industry, go to great lengths to make sure you feel welcome and as comfortable as possible. If there is anything you need, you have but to ask and they will surely make it happen.

At the buying points meeting, South Carolina producer Richard Rentz gave the opening welcome in which he recounted how and when South Carolina started getting into the peanut business.

“Peanuts are here to stay,” Rentz declared, and then went on to explain his statement.

“First of all, when you see farms that have been growing only tobacco for hundreds of years that are no longer growing tobacco, but instead peanuts, you have to know that was not a fly-by-night decision,” he said.

The second reason peanut production will continue in South Carolina is simply because of the investment they have made in peanuts. “There was no infrastructure or equipment in the state,” he said. “Everything had to be bought or built, which helped the industry be more efficient.”

Finally, Rentz said, “You know peanuts are important in South Carolina when the State of Georgia – the big dog of the peanut world – had to come calling to South Carolina to find their next state Extension agronomist, which they did in hiring Scott Monfort away from Clemson University.”

Of course, Rentz drew some chuckles with that last bit, but his point was made, South Carolina is here to stay in the peanut business. Speaking of Scott Monfort, we welcome him to The Peanut Grower as one of our Peanut Pointer contributors and look forward to hearing his insight into peanut production issues. And, if you get the chance, pay a visit to South Carolina. I promise you will feel welcome.


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