This year in the peanut industry isn’t shaping up at all like I thought it would. And that’s a good thing. With peanut warehouses busting at the seams from last harvest, but no alternatively priced crop to steal peanuts’ thunder, I thought another big year might be the death knell for the peanut world. I didn’t stop to think that it’s adversity that will make you stronger, and it seems that is what it has done.
While tough decisions have been made and downsizing has occurred in some areas, there is growth in other areas. In this issue as in last month, there is news of building and increased capacity. This time it is Golden Peanut and Tree Nut that is modernizing a warehouse to improve efficiency and enhance quality.
Modernization is certainly something that is needed in peanuts. Other than the use of some precision ag on the farm and the drying of peanuts in semi-trailers now, much of what happens to peanuts from the farm to the manufacturer has been the same for years. But change is coming.
How do I know? Because students like Will Dezern represent the future of our industry. You can read more about Will, a student at the University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and the honor he has received on page 16. However, I will let the kitty out of the burlap by telling you that Will has been working to modernize the peanut industry by improving and standardizing a database used by peanut breeders to reference the phenotypic, biochemical and genetic markers needed in breeding programs to improve peanut varieties. And he hasn’t even started graduate school!
With students like Will already working on improving the peanut industry through their various land-grant universities, I know a more modern, efficient and dynamic peanut industry is on the way.