News Brief

United Voice On Legislation

Peanut growers, shellers and buying points have formed the United States Peanut Federation to serve as a unified voice in Washington, D.C., and advocate for strong agricultural policy.

U.S. capitol

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

USPF’s mission is to protect, promote and improve business conditions for those in the peanut industry. U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies, says, “I cannot express how pleased I am that the United States Peanut Federation has been formed to advocate collectively for all sectors of the peanut industry.

“As co-chair of the congressional peanut caucus, I believe the industry will benefit tremendously from a unified voice. This is truly an organization whose time has come.”

The federation comprises the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, the American Peanut Shellers Association and the National Peanut Buying Points Association.

Rep. Austin Scott, ranking member of the House agriculture subcommittee on Commodity Exchanges, Energy and Credit, says, “I commend the associations for joining forces to advocate for our nation’s peanut industry, which plays an important role in feeding not only our country but also the world. As times get tough for our country, it is important to concentrate efforts in a unified voice to better our peanut industry and rural America. I look forward to seeing positive impacts from this partnership.”

Karl Zimmer, president and CEO of Premium Peanut, is the first USPF chairman.

“I am thrilled with the launch of the U.S. Peanut Federation, formalizing and bringing structure to years of informal collaboration among growers, buying points and shellers. Working together, I believe we will be able to effectively advance many issues that are critical to peanuts. The U.S. Peanut Federation is ready to take on those challenges, advocating for the industry’s priorities with one voice.”

For information about joining the U.S. Peanut Federation, call Joe Thomas at (202) 543-7464 or email jthomas@reddingfirm.com.

Additional COVID Assistance

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced an additional $14 billion for producers who continue to face market disruptions and associated costs because of COVID-19. Signup for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2) will run through Dec. 11.

Producers can apply for CFAP 2 at USDA’s Farm Service Agency county offices. This program provides financial assistance that gives producers the ability to absorb marketing costs associated with the pandemic. Producers will be compensated for ongoing market disruptions. Payments are being made in three commodity categories: price trigger commodities, flat-rate crops and sales commodities.

Crops that either do not meet the 5% price decline or do not have data available to calculate a price change will have payments calculated based on eligible 2020 acres multiplied by $15 per acre. These crops include alfalfa, extra-long staple cotton, oats, peanuts, rice, hemp, millet, mustard, safflower, sesame, triticale, rapeseed and others.

The payment limitation is $250,000 per person or entity for all commodities combined.

Grading In The Age Of COVID

The Georgia Federal State Inspection Service hired nearly 1,000 temporary workers to staff 130 peanut buying points in Georgia to grade the state’s multi-million-dollar peanut crop.

To ensure protocols are followed, Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black and Georgia Public Health Commissioner Kathleen Toomey visited Farmers Gin and Peanut in Moultrie, Georgia, to review plans for keeping workers safe from COVID-19.

Toomey discussed with FSIS what to do if an employee becomes infected and how to prevent further spread among workers.

She suggested identifying someone in the facility whose job would be to educate employees on the proper use of masks and enforce the measures.

Virtual meetings between state inspection services were used to discuss safety protocols at all buying points. The goal is safe and efficient peanut grading for the farmer.

APPA Approved By 95%

Alabama peanut farmers voted to continue the current assessment on peanuts that is collected by the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries and administered by the Alabama Peanut Producers Association. In a referendum conducted July 23, 2020, 95% of those who voted said “yes” to continue APPA’s programs in education, promotion and research.

Carl Sanders, Coffee County farmer and APPA president, says, “I am proud of the work we do at the Alabama Peanut Producers Association. The check-off funds production research, grower and consumer education and the promotion of delicious and nutrient-packed peanuts, peanut butter and other peanut products. The referendum results are a remarkable endorsement of the work APPA does on behalf of our peanut farmers.”

Peanut Butter Consumers Are Changing

Jake Calhoun, director of brand strategy for the J.M. Smucker Co. told peanut attendees of the sheller/buying point pre-harvest meeting that consumers are changing.

peanut butterCalhoun says, “Consumers were already changing. How they eat has evolved and so has how they shopped, as well as what they watch and interact with. COVID-19 has accelerated that change with eating at home, cutting back on spending and changing shopping habits.

“But peanut butter has the momentum. Peanut butter is the dominant nut butter with 77% share by nut type. Hazelnut has 10%, almond butter has 8% and others have 5%.”

Calhoun says the reasons the peanut butter category is in a great place include 75% of U.S. households purchased peanut butter in 2019 to 2020; peanuts remain the top-consumed nut in America at about 7.4 pounds per capita; plant-based protein is on the rise. Trending globally, new products contain flavors by region.

Peanut Per-Capita Consumption Reaches All-Time High

The National Peanut Board celebrates its 20th anniversary with the announcement of record-breaking consumption. For the first time, per-capita consumption reached 7.6 pounds based on USDA and U.S. Census data.

This success is achieved through collaboration and efforts across the entire industry.

“NPB has been steadfast in our mission for two decades,” says Peter Froese, NPB chairman and Texas board member. “These latest consumption numbers underscore the success of our efforts in marketing and finding peanut allergy solutions. This drives us to continue working hard to deliver results for America’s peanut farmers.”

Aflatoxin Projects Requested

The U.S. Peanut Federation requested funding for aflatoxin research projects through the USDA Agricultural Research Service at the National Peanut Lab in Dawson, Georgia, in cooperation with Fort Valley State University.

Rep. Sanford Bishop included $1.5 million for peanut aflatoxin research in the appropriations committee, which was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives.

The U.S. Senate has not taken up their agriculture appropriations bill for fiscal year 2021 yet. Congress passed a continuing resolution to keep the government funded until after the election, which is when the Senate will likely take up the issue.

Peanut Institute Research Efforts

The Peanut Institute received 40 nutrition research proposals from 20 countries. The Peanut Institute is currently supporting 15 studies in partnership with national and international universities.

All of the projects are examining how peanuts and peanut products affect human health in 11 various areas including: fitness, gut microbiome, cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, weight management, Crohn’s disease, child health and wellness, cognition, longevity, precision medicine in diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

For more information, visit their website at www.peanut-institute.com.

Georgia Farm Show Expands To Two-Day Event

To accommodate social distancing needs, the Georgia Peanut Farm Show is planned as a two-day event in January. The 45th annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference will be held Jan. 20-21, 2021.

The show will be held Wednesday, Jan. 20, from 1 to 5 p.m. and Thursday, Jan. 21, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, Georgia. The show is free and open to all farmers and industry representatives. It is sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission.

Attendees can visit with more than 100 agribusinesses and organizations in the peanut and agricultural industry. Farmers will be able to earn private and commercial pesticide applicator certification, as well as learn about research and developments during the UGA Peanut Production Seminar and industrywide sponsored Peanut Seed Seminar.

MSU Cancels Row Crop Short Course

Mississippi State University has canceled plans for the 2020 Row Crop Short Course in December. Officials say they are still operating under conditions that limit the number of people who can gather at events and thought that a virtual format would not capture the same atmosphere. They did not want sacrifice quality simply to have a meeting.

For questions regarding pesticide certification or licenses, call the Bureau of Plant Industry at 662-325-3390. With respect to continuing education units for Certified Crop Advisors, check the CCA website at https://www.agronomy.org/education for virtual meeting options. If you need an extension to earn CEU’s, contact Penny Magana, Certification Representative for Mississippi at 608-268-4954.

Florida Peanut Federation Donates Plot Planter

peanut planter donationThe Florida Peanut Federation recently donated a research plot planter to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Science’s North Florida Research Education Center. The planter was presented at the FPF annual meeting.

Barry Tillman, UF peanut breeder, says, “The NFREC is grateful to the Florida Peanut Federation for their gift of a state-of-the-art research plot planter. This new planter will significantly improve the efficiency and accuracy of planting peanut research plots and will help us to develop improved varieties for years to come.”

Shad Mallady of Seed Research Equipment Solutions, a manufacturer of custom seed research equipment, says, “We are grateful for the opportunity to build a custom designed research planter to enhance the development of peanut research in the area.”

The research plot planter is based on a two-row Monosem planter with advanced control modified seed covers that allow it to plant one seed variety after the last over and over without mixing the seeds between plots. It also has GPS controls that will help to improve the accuracy and reduce labor and time involved in field layout.

“We look for great things to come from the progress that is made possible by this donation,” says Dwight Stansel, FPF president.

The FPF’s purpose is to improve the business conditions of Florida’s peanut producers and to promote a healthy peanut market.