News Briefs

Crop Insurance Update

The 2015 crop is the first year that peanut producers could insure their crop with the same options offered for other crops. Peanut revenue insurance options were introduced through the cooperative efforts of AgriLogic Consulting, Georgia Peanut Commission, Western Peanut Growers Association, key industry representatives and the USDA Risk Management Agency.

The revenue insurance options allow for growers to insure against losses in revenue caused by yield losses, falling prices or both. Growers are still able to insure solely against yield losses as in previous years, but this year, approximately 70 percent of the total insured peanut acreage is covered under revenue coverage options. This corresponds to almost 80 percent of the total peanut crop insurance premium for 2015.

Assessing peanut prices for valuing the insurance was a significant obstacle in developing revenue coverage options. With support from participants in production and marketing, information has been made available to determine prices based on indices from other commodities traded on futures exchanges. This year, the price used to value the initial guarantee for runner peanuts for most of the Southeast and parts of Texas was $424.60 per ton.

The price used to value harvest production would not be finalized until after October. If the final price for runner peanuts was $414.00 per ton, a grower with an approved yield of 1.5 tons per acre who elected the 85 percent coverage level Revenue Protection and ended with a harvest yield of 1.25 tons per acre would receive a $24 per acre insurance indemnity payment. Had this grower elected the same coverage but chosen Yield Protection, the indemnity payment would be $11 per acre.

Additional revenue insurance options provide a wider range of choices when making risk management and production decisions in the years to come.

2015 Peanut Acreage Estimate

The Farm Service Agency estimates that the 2015 U.S. peanut acreage is up 22.7 percent based on FSA records as reported by farmers for a total of 1,601,718 acres, a 14,297 acre increase over the August estimate.

If farmers can average 3,996 pounds per acre, as estimated by National Ag Statistics Service, U.S. production would be 3,200,232 tons, a 22.8 percent increase in production over last year. Some surprises in the acreage estimate were: Georgia is up from the last estimate by 3,035 acres, Florida was higher than expected, up 11.2 over last year; Mississippi is up 44.6 percent over last year and Texas also increased from last month by 4,871 acres, up 36.6 percent over last year.

Stopping EPA On WOTUS

Forty seven U.S. Senators, including many from peanut regions, are co-sponsoring a joint resolution to nullify the “Waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS) rule published in June by the EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The rule became effective Aug. 28 and is the subject of numerous lawsuits filed by states, including Georgia.

“Georgia farmers and landowners are outraged that Washington is trying to regulate how they maintain streams, ditches and runoff water on their land,” said Sen. Perdue, a member of the Senate Ag Committee. “The EPA’s rule is a blatant government overreach that is causing confusion, uncertainty and unnecessary red tape.”

The resolution was introduced in September by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), using the Congressional Review Act as justification. “This is yet another step in our fight against the administration’s ‘Waters of the United States’ rule, which allows federal bureaucrats to assert control over thousands of streams, creeks, wetlands, ponds and ditches throughout the country,” Sen. Johnny Isakson, (R-Ga.) said, “This tool will delay and prevent development and land-use activities on property owned by homeowners, farms, small businesses and municipalities. This rule harms not only landowners, but our entire agriculture industry in Georgia.”

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 4.42.54 PM

Strong El Niño Predicted

For several months, water temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean have been warming at an increased rate, building one of the strongest El Niño’s in decades, says David Zierden, state climatologist of Florida.

The event is on track to make late fall, winter and spring weather similar to that experienced during the strong El Niño events of 1997-1998 and 1982- 1983. The last El Niño event took place in the winter of 2009-2010 but was considered mild.

From a weather perspective, rain amounts in some locations could be 30 to 50 percent more than during non-El Niño times.

Producers are advised to plant cover crops as soon as harvest is complete to protect against erosion.

New Facility Ready By Spring

Premium Peanut LLC, in Douglas, Ga., a modern shelling facility like no other in the nation, represents a $50 million investment and 100 new jobs for Coffee County. The plant is a product of the partnership between Premium Peanut’s Board of Directors: Steve Dixon, Dixon Farm Supply; Gabe Evans, Irwinville Peanut and Grain Co; Ralph G. Evans Sr., Douglas Peanut and Grain Co; Kent Fountain, Southeastern Gin; Gene Waldron, Deep South Peanut Co; Drew Walker, Jeff Davis Peanut and Grain; Scott Williams, Dixie Peanut Producers; and Gary Evans, Premium Peanut, LLC.

While the facility is currently operational, construction crews will be working to add offices, complete storage facilities and will be adding railroad tracks in order to be able to ship the shelled peanuts by rail cars. Construction is on schedule to be completed in February of 2016.

Production Manager W.A. Carver says the plant will be able to store up to 8,000 tons of peanuts and can process 720 tons of peanuts each day.Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 11.08.36 PM

New Appointments To NPB

Secretary Tom Vilsack recently appointed four members and five alternates to serve on the National Peanut Board. The appointees will serve threeyear terms beginning Jan. 1, 2016, with the Florida alternate beginning immediately and ending on Dec. 31, 2017.

For Florida, William Carte of Live Oak is the new alternate member. Carte produces peanuts and sesame and has a cattle operation.

Peanut-Grower-November-2015_Page_06_Image_0002From Georgia, Andy Bell of Climax is the new board member after serving six years as alternate. Bell’s operation consists of peanuts, cotton, corn, pine timber and 200 head of cattle.

Neil Lee of Dawson is the new Georgia alternate member. Besides peanuts, Lee Farms also grows cotton, corn, pecans, wheat, soybeans and llama calves. For the At-Large position, Eileen Jordan of Rayville, La. is the newly appointed member. She has been in farming for 35 years and grows peanuts, corn, soybeans, rice, timber, pasture and has a cow/calf operation. Micah Barham of Oak Ridge, La. is the new at-large alternate and is in his fourth year of farming peanuts, corn and cotton. For South Carolina, Bud Bowers of Estill is the new board member after serving as alternate for six years. Owner and operator of Corrin F. Bowers & Sons Farm, Bowers began farming in a partnership in 1976 in peanuts, cotton and corn.

Steven Neal Baxley Jr. of Alcolu is the newly appointed South Carolina alternate member. Baxley, along with his father Steve and brother Gene Robert, owns and operates Baxley Farms LLC, where they grow peanuts, corn, cotton, soybeans, wheat and rapeseed and have a cattle and hog operation.

For Texas, Peter Froese Jr. of Seminole is the new board member after serving six years as alternate. Froese owns and operates Froese Land and Cattle and produces peanuts, wheat, cotton and sorghum.

Bob White of Clarendon is the new Texas alternate member, after serving as board member for six years and chairman in 2015. Farming for 38 years, White and his wife Pat own and operate White Land Farms and produce peanuts, cotton, wheat, sorghum, potatoes and cattle.

The nine appointees will be sworn in by USDA for their new terms at the December 2015 NPB meeting.

New S.C. Peanut Specialist

A plant pathologist with a background in research and educational outreach has joined Clemson University as South Carolina’s new peanut specialist. Daniel Anco, an Illinois native with master’s and doctoral degrees in plant pathology from Ohio State University, will work from Clemson’s Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville to provide assistance to peanut growers across the state.

“I am excited to join Clemson University and the precision agriculture team at the Edisto Research and Education Center and look forward to helping peanut growers in South Carolina by providing new and updated management recommendations, evaluating cultivars and products for performance under South Carolina conditions, and determining ways to improve peanut production and disease and pest management by making resource use more efficient and effective,” Anco says.

South Carolina growers harvested 108,000 acres of peanuts in 2014 with a value of $91.1 million, according to the National Agricultural Statistics Service. Yields averaged 3,800 pounds per acre.

Company Opens N.M. Plant

(From left ) Producers Brent Cogdill and Monty Rast join Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers to see the delivery of peanut butter to the Harvest Hope Food Bank.

(From left ) Producers Brent Cogdill and Monty Rast join Ag Commissioner Hugh
Weathers to see the delivery of peanut butter to the Harvest Hope Food Bank.

Ready Roast Nut Co. officials announced plans to create up to 200 jobs at the site of the former Sunland Peanut Co. Sunland’s bankruptcy and permanent closure followed a temporary shutdown after a salmonella outbreak in 2012.

The local peanut plant sold to Golden Boy Foods Ltd. for $26 million in March 2014, which was then purchased by Ready Roast Nut Co.

Co-owners of the California-based Ready Roast, Thomas Finn, Ann Billek and Tyler Angle, have said they plan to do things differently.

“We supply major food manufacturers in the world. We’re the largest supplier to the ice cream industry of dice roasted almonds.” Finn said his two partners are food industry veterans with Billek being a food scientist that has developed many new peanut products with major food manufacturers.

Ready Roast, which was established in 2006, has three facilities in California and employs over 500 people, according to Finn. Officials said the New Mexico location will begin by employing between 50 to 75 people with up to 200 employees during harvest season.

“We believe in the Valencia peanut, and we hope to do good things here,” Finn said.

Jim Lucero, who worked for Coca- Cola Bottling Company for 20 years and at Sunland for a short time after the product recall, will operate the New Mexico location.

Duvall Runs For AFBF President

Georgia Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall announced his intention to run for president of the American Farm Bureau Federation at the Southern Peanut Growers Conference in July.

“Agriculture is not only essential for life, it is essential for the security of our nation,” Duvall said, “I understand what it takes to keep Farm Bureau strong and extend our role as the respected, trusted voice of agriculture in America.”

Duvall has served nine years as president of the Georgia Farm Bureau and has been on several international trade missions on behalf of the Georgia Farm Bureau and the American Farm Bureau. He and his wife of 36 years, Bonnie, farm in Greene County, Ga.

The election comes during the American Farm Bureau Convention in Orlando, Fla. in January 2016.

Peanut Butter To Flooded Areas

Peanut producers and peanut butter manufacturers donated 62,010 jars of peanut butter to Harvest Hope Food Bank through Peanut Proud, a non-profit organization of the U.S. Peanut Industry. The retail value of the donation is estimated at $180,000. Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers and South Carolina peanut producers Monty Rast and Brent Cogdill visited Harvest Hope Food Bank in Colombia, S.C., as the last shipment was delivered.

“So many people have been terribly affected by the recent rains and flooding. This donation by peanut producers and processors, some of whom are facing losses themselves, is a humbling display of generosity and resiliency. And we thank Harvest Hope for getting food to the folks who need it,” said Weathers.

The shipment included peanut butter manufactured by J.M. Smucker Company, Algood Foods, Golden Boy Foods, The Kroger Company and John B. Sanfilippo & Sons. The National Peanut Board, the Georgia Peanut Commission and the Virginia Peanut Growers Association and North Carolina Peanut Growers Association were gracious in their donations to help with disaster relief in South Carolina.

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture and the South Carolina Peanut Board are appreciative of the peanut industry’s donation. To learn more about Peanut Proud, visit peanutproud.com.