Stumbling On A Theme

amanda huber
Amanda Huber,
Peanut Grower Editor

This issue of Peanut Grower developed a theme quite innocently enough. As an industry, we are pretty good at recognizing both the pioneers and the everyday person in the trenches who bring a lot to the table for peanut growers.

David Jordan, North Carolina State University Extension agronomist, is always quick to let me know when a long-time researcher, Extension personnel or other person important to Virginia-Carolina farmers is retiring. In the early spring, he let me know that 2024 would be the year Rick Brandenburg, long-time NCSU Extension entomologist, is retiring. We decided this issue would be good for a tribute article, and it can be found on page 16.

Next, an article came to my email from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension media newswire that caught my attention. Dr. William D. “Bill” Branch was being inducted into the Georgia Agriculture Hall of Fame. I was more or less surprised this hadn’t happened already because you would be hard pressed to think of someone more important to the peanut industry in Georgia than this stalwart peanut breeder. Congratulations, Dr. Branch, it is recognition well deserved.

At this point, I still had not connected the two things as an actual theme, and then the definitive item came — an exciting announcement that the inaugural Charles Simpson Wild Arachis Species Session would be held at the 2024 American Peanut Research and Education Society annual meeting, July 9-11, at the Omni Oklahoma City hotel.

The Wild Arachis Species Session would be named to honor the pioneer who is most responsible for collecting and preserving wild peanut species, Dr. Charles Simpson. His contributions to the peanut industry worldwide are simply immeasurable. There it was — a theme.

Whenever I get the opportunity to write about Dr. Simpson’s contributions to the peanut industry, it is always with a sense of awe, which may sound kitsch, but I love this industry so much and do not know where it would be without him. It would not be brimming with excitement at the new state of peanut breeding and the ability to use the genetic resources in wild species for modern varieties.

Special thanks to Shyam Tallury, curator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s peanut collection in Griffin, Georgia, who proposed naming the session after Simpson, for much of the information, and also APRES president Rebecca Bennett, research plant pathologist with the USDA Peanut and Small Grains Research Unit in El Reno, Oklahoma, The Peanut Research Foundation executive director Steven Brown and John Cason, assistant professor of Peanut Breeding and Genetics at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research station in Stephenville, for their contributions.

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