Warehouses are full. Prices are low, and prices of other commodities are even lower. Inputs are not lower, except maybe fuel, and now the European Union is dictating what products can be used on peanut, that is if you could possibly be sending your product overseas to one of their ports. With all of this, is there any reason to be optimistic? Of course there is.
Reason #1: Growers are confident enough in the peanut industry to invest significantly. As you can read on page 18, Premier Peanut celebrated their Grand Opening in late April. More than 200 producer-shareholders embarked on a $70 million investment for a state-of-the-art shelling plant with seven buying points.
The great news, as told by Karl Zimmer, CEO of Premium Peanut, was that they were already sold out through July. “Today we are shipping 14 containers to China plus shipments to Canada and Mexico,” he said. “Our 200 local farmer owners, who were willing to invest in marketing their product, will be proud to learn that after two months of full operation, we are in the black!”
Reason #2: Peanuts are continuing to ride the wave of good nutrition news. According to The Peanut Institute, peanuts and peanut butter play a key role in the five Dietary Guidelines for Americans as follows: 1) Follow a healthy eating pattern – peanuts are part of all the healthy diets studied; 2) Focus on variety, nutrient density and amount – peanuts are one of the most nutrient dense foods available; 3) Limit sugars, saturated fats and sodium – most peanut products are minimally processed and low in all three; 4) Shift to healthier foods – peanuts and peanut butter improve nutritional status when substituted for other snacks and proteins; and 5) Support healthier eating in all settings – peanuts are convenient, affordable and portable and ideal for schools, workplace and on the go. With a focus on nutrients and protein, peanuts are positioned to keep reaping the benefits of this good news.
Reason #3: The 2018 Farm Bill is not far away. Granted this is not so much a reason for optimism as it is a mantra to just “hang in there” until hopefully the ship can be righted. Already, groups of producers are working to improve protection of the peanut market from shifts in other commodities. Two to three years is not a long time. These are three of the reasons I see for some optimism in the industry.