News Brief

USDA Announces New Program Manager
Michael Schultz, Deputy Administrator of USDA Farm Programs has announced that DeAnn Allen will be the new Market Assistance Loans and Loan Deficiency Payments (MAL/LDP) Program Manager for peanuts.

Allen was born and raised in northwestern North Dakota, is a University of North Dakota graduate, lived on a farm and worked in a county FSA office in Iowa for more than 20 years. She has been the MAL/LDP Program Manager for all commodities, except peanuts and cotton, since October 2010.

Richard Flournoy moves to Risk Management Association to serve as assistant to the administrator. He will likely be involved in the new peanut revenue program should it survive the Farm Bill discussions.

Contact Allen at 202-720-9889 or email at deann.allen@wdc.usda.gov. The MAL/LDP automation issues will continue to be managed by Cecile Wynne. Her number is 202-720-8413.


FSA Board Nomination Period
Nominations for producers to the Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees began in mid-June. The deadline for nominations is August 1. To be eligible to serve on an FSA county committee, a person must participate or cooperate in a program administered by FSA, be eligible to vote in a county committee election and reside in the local administrative area in which the person is a candidate.

To become a candidate, an eligible individual must sign the nomination form, FSA-669A. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available online. Elections will take place this fall. Members serve three-year terms.

Nationwide, there are about 7,800 farmers and ranchers serving on FSA county committees. Committees consist of three to 11 members that are elected by eligible producers. FSA will mail ballots to eligible voters beginning Nov. 4. Ballots are due back to the local county office either by mail or in person by Dec. 2. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office on Jan. 1, 2014.


Morris Wins GPC District 2
The Georgia Peanut Commission announces Armond Morris, of Irwin County, as the District 2 board memberelect for a three-year term. District 4 and 5 board members were nominated without opposition and will serve another three-year term. Those board members are Rodney Dawson, Pulaski County, representing District 4, and Donald Chase, Macon County, representing District 5.

Last December, nomination meetings were held for the board seats in Districts 2, 4 and 5. Morris was the incumbent for District 2 and had opposition from Wes Shannon, Tift County. Morris won by a margin of 65.24 percent after the 30-day voting period. He and the other board members were sworn in during the commission’s June board meeting.

The Georgia peanut production area is divided into five districts based on acreage distribution and geographical location with one board member representing each district. Each nominee must produce peanuts and live within the district for which he is nominated.

The GPC represents 3,500 peanut farmers in the state of Georgia and carries out programs in the areas of research, education and promotion. Additional information on the programs of the Georgia Peanut Commission is available online at www.Gapeanuts.com.


Ortloff Heads Mid-South Operations
Clint Williams Company has announced that Steve Ortloff has assumed the position of president and general manager of Mid-South operations. He will be directly responsible for all aspects of the company’s business in Mississippi and Arkansas including buying point operations, grower relations and business development.

Steve has spent the past 18 years working for Clint Williams Co., most recently as corporate vice president in charge of the custom processing division and domestic sales. He is a 1994 graduate of the University of Oklahoma and the grandson of Clint Williams, who founded the company in Madill, Okla., in 1961.

In the Mid-South area, Clint Williams Co., owns peanut buying points located in Greenwood and Clarksdale, Miss. In addition, the company purchases peanuts through a commissioned buyer located in Pocahontas, Ark. These three locations are currently capable of handling 60,000 tons of peanuts in total.


Buying Points Hold Leadership Class
Eighteen leaders were selected to the first ever Leadership Training Program of the National Peanut Buying Points Association.

Robin Singletary, NPBPA chairman, said, “It is important that we educate the younger people on how the industry began so that they may appreciate the efforts that have made this industry what it is today. We need this new generation to develop that same dedication for peanuts that we’ve developed.”

Selected for the 2013 class are: Lee Chapman, Birdsong Peanut Co., Blakely, Ga.; Roger Branch, Southeastern Gin & Peanut, Surrency, Ga.; Chris Cunningham, R.L. Cunningham & Sons, Quitman, Ga.; Carl Mathis Dixon, Dixon Farm Supply, Alapaha, Ga.; Stacey Gay, Golden Peanut Co., High Springs, Fla.; Jamie George, Farmers Peanut Co., Whigham, Ga.; and Greg Heideman, Golden Peanut Co., McRae, Ga.

Also in the class are Bob Lee, Banner Grain & Peanut, Tifton, Ga.; Oseas Lopez, Southeastern Gin & Peanut, Surrency, Ga.; Cole McNair, Damascus Peanut Co., Damascus, Ga.; Ronnie Myers, American Peanut Growers, Donalsonville, Ga.; Tripp Powell, Dollar Brothers, Climax, Ga.; Garrett Riden, Golden Peanut Co., Camilla, Ga.; David Rushing, Birdsong Peanuts, Brooklet, Ga.; Brian Singletary, Firetower Peanut, Camilla, Ga.; Ronnie Thompson, Farmers Peanut Co., Colquitt, Ga., Danny Vaughn, Farmers Peanut Co., Whigham, Ga.; and Russ Williams, Damascus Peanut Co, Arlington, Ga.

Regions Bank is the corporate sponsor and other event sponsorships are available. The first class included tours of the USDA National Peanut Research Lab and Golden Oil Mill in Dawson, Ga., and Snyder’s-Lance in Columbus, Ga. Explaining the history of the peanut industry were Frank McGill, Ben Smith and Tyron Spearman. Two other sessions will be held before graduation.


Franke Now Manager In Southwest
Gerald “Max” Grice, 71, vice president and general manager for Birdsong Peanuts in Brownfield, Texas, passed away on May 28, 2013, at his home in Fort Worth. He had been with Birdsong for 46 years and played a prominent role in the peanut industry for decades.

Grice was a deacon at First Baptist Church of Brownfield and Stephenville. He was a member of the Gorman Masonic Lodge, Sunday School Director at First Baptist Church Brownfield, past president of the Peanut Shellers Association, the Brownfield Chamber of Commerce and the Brownfield Development Board.

Birdsong Peanuts has announced that Michael Franke will assume the position of general manager for Birdsong’s Southwest Division. Franke has been working with the Southwest division since February 2009, assuming responsibilities for farming and custom-harvest operations.

Before joining Birdsong Peanuts, he served as J. Leek and Associates U.S. Agricultural Systems manager and later served as vice-president for JLA’s Agricultural Systems for North America.

Franke graduated from Tarleton State University in 1992 before receiving both his master’s degree and doctorate in plant pathology from the University of Georgia in 1996 and 1999, respectively.


Peanut Proud Festival At Crossroads
For the past five years, the Peanut Proud Festival has been a celebration for the peanut industry and the Blakely, Ga., community.

Lea Jean Manry, of Birdsong Peanuts, has decided to step down after five years as the event coordinator. The Peanut Proud board will now seek a new leader to take the helm for the festival. The board hopes that someone will step forward to carry on this signature event that has become an important part of the community and peanut industry.