New Ag Deputy Secretary From Georgia
Krysta Harden of Camilla, Ga., is the new Deputy Secretary of Agriculture. A Georgia native, Harden has served as the chief of staff at USDA since 2011, where she earned high regard from a wide range of individuals for her no-nonsense approach to problem solving. She replaces Kathleen Merrigan in the second-highest post in USDA.
Harden served as Assistant Secretary for Congressional Relations at USDA from 2009 to 2011, and from 2004 to 2009 she served as the Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Conservation Districts. Previously,
Harden was the Senior Vice President of Gordley Associates from 1993 to 2004. Harden worked as staff director for the U.S. House Ag Committee’s Subcommittee on Peanuts and Tobacco from 1992 to 1993. From 1981 to 1992, she held a number of roles including legislative director, chief of staff and press secretary for Congressman Charles Hatcher.
Georgia Bank Promotion Week
The Georgia Peanut Commission and the Georgia Bankers Association joined forces once again for a week in October to promote the peanut industry during the 37th annual Georgia Peanut Bank Week. Banks and financial institutions across the state honored Georgia’s peanut farmers and the contribution they make to the state and local economies.
This year’s theme, “Bank on Peanuts,” showcased the importance of peanuts, Georgia’s official state crop, to Georgia’s growing economy. It also showed the close tie between peanut farmers and financial institutions and the importance of their relationship.
Georgia’s peanut farmers contribute approximately $2 billion annually to the economy and help maintain Georgia’s largest industry, agriculture.
For information on GPC promotions, visit www.gapeanuts.com.
NPB Promotes Perfectly Powerful Peanut
The National Peanut Board has begun its Fiscal Year ’14 Program of Work with a new NPB brand platform, “The Perfectly Powerful Peanut,” along with a heightened consumer-focused campaign addressing peanut allergy education.
“The Perfectly Powerful Peanut” brand platform advances NPB’s strategic brand direction based on consumer trends toward health and wellness. One of the main reasons consumers are buying nuts today is for their health benefits. The new brand platform provides a message that is unifying to the entire peanut industry and leverages peanuts’ competitive consumer benefits.
“The Perfectly Powerful Peanut connects with health and wellness news that peanuts have seven grams of plant-based protein and are a superfood with more than 30 vitamins and minerals,” said Vic Jordan, NPB chairman and farmer from Louisiana. “We want to build on these nutrition benefits and the love Americans of all ages have for peanuts and peanut butter, while increasing our competitiveness in the market place.”
The NPB’s program of work on peanut allergy will increase understanding about accurate diagnosis and provide science-based allergy information to consumers. While the Board recognizes that scientific data shows approximately one to two percent of Americans are allergic to peanuts, consumer research shows that millions of American consumers who think they have a peanut allergy may be misinformed or were never properly diagnosed by a trained physician.
According to a July 2013 Consumer Allergy Study conducted by The Bantam Group, people perceive peanut allergies to be 40 times more prevalent in the general population than reported by the National Institutes of Health. People also confuse what does and does not constitute a peanut allergy and what triggers an allergic reaction to peanuts.
APC Hosts International Visitors
The American Peanut Council, in cooperation with growers, grower associations and shellers, have hosted three groups during the fall to view peanuts, peanut harvest and peanut activities.
In September, 15 Canadian journalists visited Tifton and Plains, Ga., with stops at Tifton Quality Peanuts, lunch at the new Georgia Peanut Commission office and a stop at MANA ready-to-use therapeutic food facility in Fitzgerald, Ga., plus they attended the Plains Peanut Festival.
In October, Mexican customers visited the Southeast peanut area. These manufacturer customers, who represent one of the industry’s fastest growing export markets, toured fields and shelling plants.
Also in October, Colombian customers toured the West Texas growing area in and around Lubbock. In November 2012, a group of American peanut industry members visited Colombia to learn more about the potential for selling U.S. peanuts given the recently passed free trade agreement between the U.S. and Colombia. The APC’s Stephanie Grunenfelder was instrumental in these visits.