News Briefs

USDA Offers Farm Bill Extension

In February, agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack approved a one-time extension for producers to update yield history or reallocate base acres. This was the same deadline by which producers were to choose a program, whether Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC). If no changes are made to yield history or base acres by March 31, 2015, the farm’s current yield and base will be used.

If no program was chosen, there will be no 2014 payments for the farm and the farm will default to PLC coverage through the 2018 crop year.

Covered commodities include: barley, canola, large and small chickpeas, corn, crambe, flaxseed, grain sorghum, lentils, mustard seed, oats, peanuts, dry peas, rapeseed, long grain rice, mediumgrain rice (which includes short-grain rice), safflower seed, sesame, soybeans, sunflower seed and wheat. Upland cotton is no longer a covered commodity.

Bristow To Head Alabama Association

Caleb Bristow, 26, of Henry County, is the new executive director for the Alabama Peanut Producers Association.

“We are thrilled to have Caleb join the APPA and Federation family,” says Brian Hardin, Alabama Farmers’ Federation ag programs director. “He will provide excellent leadership and is a hard worker who can connect with people.”

Bristow’s family produces nearly 3,000 acres of peanuts and cotton and has a herd of beef cows. He is an Auburn University graduate, earning his master’s degree in agronomy (weed science) in 2012 and his bachelor’s in agronomy and soils in 2010.

Bristow and his wife, Freda, live in Headland. He replaces Jim Cravey, who served as interim executive director. Previously, Bristow was a manager and salesman for Kelly Ag. He is a member of Gamma Sigma Delta, Auburn’s Honor Society of Agriculture. Contact Bristow by email at CBristow@AlPeanuts.com .

SPFF Pitches For Peanut Butter Purchases

During a recent hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in Washington D.C., Ronnie Lee, a producer from Bronwood, Ga., used the opportunity to praise USDA for implementing the Farm Bill in a timely manner. Lee was providing testimony at the hearing on behalf of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation and the National Cotton Council.

“Our industries believe that sound farm policy is essential to the economic viability of the cotton and peanut industries,” Lee says. “It is critical that U.S. farm policy is designed and implemented to provide a sound foundation for agriculture production.”

Lee testified on the importance of sound farm policy, crop insurance enhancements, conservation programs, export promotion programs and more. He also mentioned the decline in federal government purchases of peanut butter even though peanut butter remains one of the cheapest protein sources.

“Federal peanut butter purchases reached a peak of approximately 80 million pounds in the mid-1990s, but the amount of purchases have continued to decline with less than 30 million pounds purchased in the 2012-13 time period and even fewer purchases in 2013-14,” Lee says. “We understand there are additional variables with regard to these purchases, such as state and local product requests. We would like for USDA to determine what has caused the decline and how, working with USDA, we can turn this situation around.” The

SPFF is comprised of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, the Florida Peanut Producers Association, Mississippi Peanut Growers Association and the Georgia Peanut Commission.

GPC Holds Mandated Referendum

The Georgia Peanut Commission is currently holding a referendum until April 15 for peanut producers to vote on whether to reaffirm the commission. State law mandates that a referendum be held every three years. Georgia peanut producers invest $2 per ton to fund the commission and its research, education, promotion and communication programs. The last referendum in 2012 passed by 87.6 percent.

Executive Director Don Koehler urges producers to contact him at don@gapeanuts. com or 229-386-3470 with any questions about the commission’s activities or the referendum.

Producers who do not receive a ballot may obtain one by calling the commission. If you receive a ballot but are no longer farming, write, “no longer producing” on the certification envelope and return it to the commission to assist the commission in updating its mailing list. The address is P.O. Box 967, Tifton, GA 31793.


 

In Brief

• If no program was selected, no payment will be received for 2014.
• Alabama Peanut Producers welcomes Caleb Bristow as executive director.
• Georgia producer reminds U.S. Senators of significant decline in USDA peanut butter purchases despite its being a low-cost protein source.
• Georgia Peanut Commission holding reaffirmation referendum.
• Important study shows early exposure to peanuts can prevent allergy occurrence.
• Virginia producers donate peanut butter to celebrate National Peanut Month.
• Plant expansion planned for Jimbo’s Jumbos in Edenton, N.C.


 

Early Exposure Reduces Allergy Risk

The long-awaited results of the Learning Early About Peanuts (LEAP) study, led by Dr. Gideon Lack, Kings College, London, were released at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

The study of infants at high risk for developing peanut allergy found that peanut consumption was associated with an 86 percent reduction in peanut allergy at five years old. For children who had a positive skin test to peanuts and included peanuts in their diet, there was a 70 percent reduction in peanut allergy.

The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine and included 530 infants between four and 11 months with severe eczema, egg allergy or both. The participants were separated into two groups based on a positive or negative reaction to a skin-prick test for peanut allergy. Within those groups, some children avoided peanuts in their diets and others included peanuts in their diets.

In an editorial accompanying the study, Drs. Rebecca Gruchalia and Hugh Sampson wrote, “We believe that because the results of this trial are so compelling, and the problem of the increasing prevalence of peanut allergy so alarming, new guidelines should be forthcoming very soon.

“Although other studies are urgently needed to address the many questions that remain, especially with respect to other foods, the LEAP study makes it clear that we can do something now to reverse the increasing prevalence of peanut allergy.”

National Peanut Board (NPB) President and CEO Bob Parker said, “Research like LEAP, which demonstrates there are ways to reduce the risk of a child developing a peanut allergy, brings hope to families everywhere. Peanut allergies today affect approximately one percent of the U.S. population, but any food allergy is serious. That is why U.S. peanut farmers, through the NPB, have contributed more than $12 million toward independent food allergy research, education and outreach over the past 15 years, and plan to continue to be part of the solution.”

Limitations of the study include a lack of placebo regimen, excluding lowrisk infants and those who had more severe reactions to peanuts, and failing to collect dust samples to validate consumption earlier in the study.

Smucker Rolling Out New Products

The J.M. Smucker Co. will roll out a wide variety of new products across categories and platforms under its Jif and Smucker’s brand in an effort to boost these iconic brands’ worth to $1 billion each.

Chief operating officer Vince Byrd said, “The new products will accelerate the growth of these well-known brands by leveraging their equity and heritage and by meeting consumers’ evolving desire for convenience, variety and betterfor- you nutrition.”

According to Byrd, the company will expand the Jif brand into two new, fastgrowing categories: bars and peanut powder.

“With more than 70 percent of households purchasing snack bars, we are leveraging our protein-rich Jif peanut butter to launch Jif bars to capitalize on the $5 billion-and-growing snack-bar category.

“We are also excited to be the first national brand to enter the peanut powder category, a smaller, but fast-growing category that is projected to more than double in sales in the next three years,” he said.

“Peanut powder has potential as an alternative to soy and whey protein powders, which are more be difficult to digest or harder to mask with an additional flavor. Peanut powder generally tastes better and pairs well with chocolate, which explains the two flavors launched: regular and chocolate peanut.

“The powder also has less fat than peanut butter,” Byrd adds.

NPB Holds Meeting, Event In NYC

The National Peanut Board had its quarterly board and committee meetings in New York and participated in an event to promote peanuts.

Following the meeting, NPB members and alternates took a leading role in “The Perfectly Powerful Peanut Pop- Up,” a three-day New York consumer and influencer series of events. Located at the corner at the Roger Smith Hotel, at 47th and Lexington, the pop-up space featured a grower station, food sampling station and a humanitarian station.

Each station was designed to promote the peanut’s many benefits – from agriculture and sustainability to the delicious taste and nutritional benefits to how peanuts are helping to feed people in need here and around the world. Additionally, the board and staff participated in a media and blogger preview event, as well as special sessions for dietitians and chefs.

TPI: Another Study Confirms Heart Health Of Peanuts

Eating peanuts may be a simple way to increase longevity, even for high-risk populations. A new study of more than 200,000 people shows that peanut-eaters decreased total deaths by 21 percent and reduced cardiovascular deaths by 38 percent. The study was released recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine and was conducted at Vanderbilt University and the Shanghai Cancer Institute.

This is the first study to demonstrate that multiple races – black, white and Asian- who are predominantly from lower socio-economic, high risk groups could benefit from eating peanuts and peanut butter. Other studies that have linked peanut and nut consumption with lower mortality focused mainly on higher income, white populations. The link between peanuts and decreased mortality was seen across all ethnicities, for men and women, income status and even for individuals with a high prevalence of metabolic disorders.

In the United States, about 72,000 people ranging from 40 to 79 years old from twelve Southeastern states participated. Two-thirds were African-American, and participants were primarily from low-income communities. Over 75 percent of the group was overweight or obese and 76 percent had metabolic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol. The other two groups included 134,000 people from the Shanghai Woman’s Health Study and the Shanghai Men’s Health Study.

Peanuts were the primary nuts consumed in the study. Participants recorded how frequently they ate the peanuts, nuts or peanut butter ranging from never to daily.

“Increasing peanut consumption may provide a potentially cost-efficient approach to improving cardiovascular health,” said senior author Xio-Ou Shu, MD, PhD, associate director for Global Health at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and professor of Medicine in the Department of Epidemiology.

The paper concludes that the “findings highlight a substantive public health impact of peanut consumption in lowering Cardiovascular Disease mortality given the affordability of peanuts to individuals from all socioeconomic backgrounds.”

Coverage of the study results has been widespread and include The New York Times, Reuters and TIME magazine.

Don’t Forget Conservation Requirement Deadline

The 2014 Farm Bill implements a change that requires farmers to have a Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation Certification (AD-1026) on file. To be eligible for premium support on their federal crop insurance, that certification is required.

The 2014 Farm Bill continues the requirement that producers adhere to conservation compliance guidelines to be eligible for most programs administered by FSA and NRCS. This includes most financial assistance such as the new price and revenue protection programs, the Conservation Reserve Program, the Livestock Disaster Assistance programs, Marketing Assistance Loans and many other programs. It also includes the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, the Conservation Stewardship Program and other conservation programs implemented by NRCS.

When a farmer completes and submits the AD-1026 certification form, FSA and NRCS staff will review the associated farm records and outline any additional actions that may be required. FSA recently released a revised form AD- 1026, which is available at USDA Service Centers or at www.fsa.usda.gov . The deadline is June 1, 2015.

Virginia Producers Donate PB For National Peanut Month

In honor of March being National Peanut Month, the Virginia Peanut Growers Association teamed up with Peanut Proud, the industry’s non-profit humanitarian organization, to contribute peanut butter to the Federation of Virginia Food Banks, a state partner association of Feeding America. This is the third year in a row that Virginia’s peanut growers have contributed as part of the March celebration, and this year, they significantly increased their donation to 7,200 jars, or five pallets.

According to Peanut Proud, one pallet can feed more than 24,000 hungry kids. This donation was greatly welcomed by the food bank association.

Jimbo’s Jumbos Plans Plant Expansion

According to a news release from the office of North Carolina’s governor, Pat McCrory, Jimbo’s Jumbos will be expanding its production plant in Edenton. The $30 million expansion will add 78 new jobs over the next three years to the 208 people already employed at the company.

Jimbo’s Jumbos is a subsidiary of Severn-based Hampton Farms, which acquired Jimbo’s in 2003.