Planted Acreage Still A Question
State peanut directors continue to debate USDA’s planted acreage estimates.
Don Koehler, Georgia Peanut Commission executive director, says that unless contracts get close to $700 per ton, acreage in Georgia could be as low as 450,000 acres, which is more than 100,000 fewer acres than 2010.
The commission estimates only 30 percent of the acres will be irrigated as farmers use irrigation land for cotton and corn. Normally, Georgia irrigates about 50 percent of the crop.
Koehler says, “Someone may go without peanuts before the 2011 harvest unless something happens to change growers’ minds about how many peanuts to plant.”
Shelly Nutt, executive director for the Texas Peanut Producers Board, says USDA’s estimates for Texas are astoundingly higher than what the industry expects.
The USDA report has Texas peanut acreage at about 165,000 acres with a three to four percent decrease, but the reduction should be closer to 50 percent, Nutt says.
“Some farmers are reducing acreage by a third, a half or not planting any peanuts,” she says. “We’re looking at a very tough year for peanuts in Texas.”
Nutt predicts that West Texas could plant fewer than 60,000 acres, and Texas, overall, would have about 80,000 planted acres – a major decline for the second highest peanut-producing state in the last decade.
The demand for Texas peanuts remains strong among certain manufacturers because Texas is the only state that grows a variety of runner peanuts with a 100 percent high oleic acid content, which gives peanut products a longer shelf life. With the low planting estimates, Nutt is concerned that manufacturers could turn to foreign peanuts.
States will issue the certified peanut acreage on June 30.
GPC Assessment Increase Rejected
Georgia’s peanut farmers have rejected a proposal to increase the annual Georgia Peanut
Commission (GPC) assessment by one dollar. Balloting was held March 15 through April 15 and was certified and counted by Allen Pritchett & Bassett Accounting Firm, in Tifton, Ga., on May 5.
A total of 1,124 ballots were counted with 56.2 percent voting in favor of the increase. According to Georgia law, the commission needed at least 25 percent of the state’s peanut farmers to vote with 66.67 percent majority, so the referendum failed.
“We are disappointed that we only received four ballots over the 25 percent needed to count the ballots,” says Don Koehler, GPC executive director. “We had 75 percent of the growers that did not vote.”
The proposed increase from $2 to $3 per ton of peanuts would have helped farmers through additional funding opportunities for peanut research.
“We appreciate all the support we received,” says Armond Morris, GPC chairman. “However, we are disappointed that this rejection will hamper opportunities to expand peanut research, a core focus of the commission.”
Research is a cornerstone program and one in which GPC funds approximately $254,000 annually. This year, with the proposed reduction in acreage, cuts will have to be made. The commission will proceed with some promotion, research and education programs, but farmers can expect operations and programs to be cut.
Future Of Agriculture Is Bright
Dean of the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Scott Angle, told peanut seed producers that Georgia’s future in agriculture is bright as farmers and agribusinesses will play a huge role as world demand for food increases.
“These are exciting times. Georgia is emerging into a powerful force in providing food as the world economy improves,” Angle said. “We expect to see the farm economy remain strong and help stabilize the state as the rest of the economy pulls slowly out of recession.”
GFB Sporting New Peanut Packets
Georgia Farm Bureau is back into the production and distribution of the .75 ounce peanut packets. GFB has teamed with Hardy Farms in Hawkinsville, Ga., to package the roasted, salted runner-type peanuts. The multi-layered gold foil package with “Georgia Peanuts” on the side is ideal for promoting peanuts.
Available for purchase in cases of 200 packets for $27, contact Cindy Arnold at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tifton Seed Lab Gets Huge Makeover
When peanut seed are tested for germination and vitality, it will likely happen in the new Tifton Seed Lab in Tifton, Ga. Scott Hobby, Manager of the Georgia Department of Agriculture (GDA) Seed Laboratory, said that the $24 million renovation at the Tifton Seed Lab will double the size of the facility with all new labs and equipment.
The new seed lab will expand services including: Purity tests; germination testing; accelerating aging test (soybean stress test); cold test (stress test); Tetrazolium testing vs sprout count testing (TZ); phenol testing (wheat); Round Up Ready testing (soybeans); Florescence testing (Oats); and seed count per pound verification.
The new facility is expected to add 20 new jobs, and the GDA Weights, Measure and Fuels Lab is also expected to move from Atlanta to the Tifton lab. The new lab will house pesticide residue and food safety labs. Officials said that 99.5 percent of seed grown in the Southeast are tested in the lab, including lots from Florida and Alabama.
Peanuts Can Stay Aboard For Now
Packets of peanuts are in no danger of disappearing completely from airplanes. In a nutshell, there’s a law protecting them.
Last year, the Department of Transportation asked the public about a possible peanut ban on planes and other measures it said it was considering to address severe allergies among fliers.
It presented three options for debate: a complete ban on serving peanuts, a ban on serving them when a passenger requests a peanut-free flight in advance, or a requirement for peanut-free buffer zones around severely allergic passengers who make advance requests.
The agency also solicited public input on health risks and the idea of maintaining current practices. But, when the new rules concerning issues from airline fees and bumping to tarmac delays were announced, the department said it won’t take on the peanut issue because of a 12-year-old law blocking the agency from tampering with peanut policy without more scientific study.
Although the government can’t impose peanut restrictions for airlines, some carriers have developed their own policies. Some no longer serve peanuts and may create peanut-free buffer zones. But Delta, American and other airlines note on their Web sites that they can’t guarantee peanut-free flights.
APC Receives Export Funding For 2011
USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) recently announced allocations for the Market Access Promotion program and the Foreign Market Development program. These are cooperative agreements with eligible non-profit U.S. trade organizations to share costs of certain overseas marketing and promotion activities intended to create, expand or maintain foreign markets for U.S. agricultural commodities and products.
FAS works with groups that have the broadest possible representation of the commodity promoted and gives priority to organizations that are national in scope. Total funding for all commodities is $200 million for MAP and $34.5 million for FMD.
This year, the American Peanut Council received approximately $2.5 million in MAP funds and approximately $700,000 in FMD funds. The money will be used in Canada, Mexico, the European Union and Japan.
Deadline For Carver Award Approaches
Graduate students are reminded that the deadline for applications for the 10th Annual Dr. George Washington Carver Award is June 7, 2011.
Forms are available at www.nationalpeanutboard.org/news_carveraward.php. Mail entries to the National Peanut Board – Dr. Carver Award, 2839 Paces Ferry Rd, Ste. 210, Atlanta, Ga., 30339.
Sunbelt Ag Expo Field Day
The Sunbelt Ag Expo Field Day will be held on Thurs., July 7, 2011, at Spence Field in Moultrie, Ga.
Trimble Navigation will demonstrate their latest technology, “Connected Farm,” a new system of software and communication services that combines precision farming information collected in the field with data management software and cell phone technology.
Visitors will see high-tech initiatives geared at combining irrigation and the Internet in order to save farmers time and money and streamline operations.
Mike Mills, Reinke Irrigation, says, “We know there are significant advantages by tying high-speed Internet and our irrigation systems for the purposes of conserving water, conserving energy and increasing yield.”
The Flint River Basin Partnership will showcase two emerging irrigation water management technologies: Remote soil moisture monitoring and variable-rate irrigation. Both technologies are currently deployed on working farms throughout southwest Georgia and are available through the USDA NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Both practices utilize cutting-edge technology to improve the efficiency of irrigation water use.
For peanut-related topics, see page 21.
Trams will depart starting at 8:30 a.m., and a complimentary lunch will be served at 12:15 p.m. Register before 8:15 a.m. for a chance to win a $100 early bird cash prize. There will also be a grand prize giveaway, as well as door prizes. All attendees receive an Expo cap.
For more information or directions to the field day, call 229-985-1968, or go to www.sunbeltexpo.com.
Dave Guthrie Joins AgriThority
AgriThority, a company specializing in product and market development in agriculture and allied industries, announces its newest Associate, agronomist Dave Guthrie.
Guthrie has more than 25 years experience in agricultural research, education and product development. His experience includes positions with Stoneville Pedigree Seed Company, Monsanto, Bayer CropScience, the National Cotton Council and North Carolina State University.
“Dave is well-versed in agronomic research, has experience in developing products for the market and a background in Extension and education,” says Jerry Duff, AgriThority managing member. “He will play a key role as a consultant and research specialist for AgriThority’s clientele.”
Guthrie holds a Bachelor of Science in Botany from the University of California at Davis, a Master of Science in Plant Science from California State University at Chico and a Ph.D. in Agronomy from the University of Arkansas.
For more information on AgriThority, visit their Web site at www.AgriThority.com.
NPB Announces Small Business Export Pilot Program
The National Peanut Board (NPB) is pleased to announce the launch of its Export Small Business Pilot Program, which will kick off with a one-day seminar on June 7, 2011, at NPB’s office in Atlanta.
The goal of this program is to increase exports of USA-grown peanuts by helping small farmer-owned and other small agribusinesses to develop or increase peanut exports.
“America’s peanut farmers grow a high quality product that is in great demand beyond U.S. borders,” said NPB President and Managing Director Marie Fenn. “The National Peanut Board’s Export Small Business Pilot Program responds to the needs of peanut growers and small businesses to succeed internationally. Our program will provide knowledge and support, as well as cost-effective ways to reach international markets and gain a new customer base.”
The program will work in conjunction with the Southern United States Trade Association (SUSTA), and with other U.S. Trade Association affiliates. NPB will provide SUSTA-approved small businesses with administrative and marketing support to help generate a global presence for their products.
The one-day seminar will help producers learn more about NPB’s Export Small Business Pilot Program, and how they can take full advantage of SUSTA programs. The seminar will include presentations by SUSTA, NPB and a guest speaker who has used the program successfully, as well as one-on-one meetings with SUSTA.
For more information about NPB’s Export Small Business Pilot Program and the one-day seminar, contact NPB Marketing and Communications Specialist Jessica Dawson at email@example.com or 678-424-5759.