News Briefs

Standards Board Members Sought

USDA is seeking nominations for three peanut producers and three industry representatives to serve on the Peanut Standards Board, succeeding members whose terms expire June 30, 2017. Nominations are due April 17, 2017. Selected members will serve three-year terms from 2017 to 2020.

The board consists of 18 members who represent three regions: the Southeast (Alabama, Florida and Georgia), the Southwest (New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas), and Virginia/North Carolina. Each region has three producer seats and three industry representative seats. The board plays a key role in representing the U.S. peanut industry on issues affecting quality and marketability.

USDA encourages membership reflecting the diversity of the industry it represents. For a nominating form and additional information, visit the Peanut Standards Board page on the AMS website, or contact Marketing Specialist Steven W. Kauffman or Christian D. Nissen, Regional Director, USDA at (863) 324-3375 or email Steven.Kauffman@ams.usda.gov or Christian.Nissen@ams.usda.gov.

New Program Specialist Named

USDA’s Farm Service Agency’s Price Support Division recently welcomed George Pryor who will take on the program specialist responsibilities for marketing assistance loans and loan deficiency payments for peanuts. The position was vacated by Kathy Sayers, who has been promoted to program analyst for the Deputy Administrator for Farm Programs. Pryor has been with FSA for more than 20 years and brings a wealth of knowledge to his new position. Sayers will continue to assist the Price Support Division and the peanut industry, as needed.
New Era In Peanuts

Jeff Johnson, president of Birdsong Peanuts, told attendees at the National Peanut Buying Points Association Convention that four major factors are coming together to set the stage for a new era in peanuts. Those factors were as follows:

  • Price – In the mid ’90s peanuts were $1.00 a pound, adjusted for inflation, whereas now peanuts are 50 cents per pound
  • Sustainability – Peanuts are one of the world’s most sustainable sources of protein, using far less water than any other nut and having an extremely low carbon footprint.
  • Health and Wellness – Several new studies show that peanuts reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. A clinical study on peanuts and diabetes is underway and positive results could boost global demand.
  • Flavor – Peanuts taste great.

Demand Outpacing Supply

American Peanut Council Senior Vice President Stephanie Grunenfelder presented information on exports and new opportunities for peanut marketers at the National Peanut Buying Point meeting.

In China, as their population is consuming more peanuts and peanut oil, demand is outpacing supply in the country and fewer Chinese peanuts are being exported. The APC looks at the markets in which China has shipped reduced volumes as potential opportunities for U.S. peanuts.

Grunenfelder also spoke about macroeconomic trends that continue to impact the world market for peanuts. Consumers in the major producing countries, including China, India, Argentina and the United States, are all consuming more peanuts each year, causing the world peanut market to increase in volume. Consumption is increasing in export markets for many of the same reasons that it is increasing in the United States. Consumers around the world are interested in health and wellness and understand that peanuts are a healthy food.

With assistance from the National Peanut Board, the American Peanut Council estimates that 970,986 tons of peanuts and peanut products were exported in 2016. This figure represents kernels, in-shells, blanched peanuts, peanut butter and processed peanuts translated into farmer-stock basis to give the industry a better idea of the percentage by volume of peanuts exported. In 2016, 26 percent of the crop was sent overseas.

NPB: Take Pride In Sustainability

National Peanut Board President Bob Parker told the NPBPA conference that peanuts have a great sustainability story that needs to be clearly documented and communicated to consumers in a compelling way. Consumers, particularly millennials, consider sustainability when making food choices.

Parker also talked about the efficiencies U.S. peanut farmers have achieved through production research, which has allowed them to compete in price-sensitive international markets but remain profitable. The United States is now the world’s low-cost producer of peanuts. NPB has invested more than $29 million into production research during its history.

2016 Peanut Crop Value

According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the price of peanuts averaged $0.189 per pound, or $378 per ton, last season, 2.1 percent lower than 2015. The value of the 2016 peanut crop at farm level is $1,077,480,000, a 7.2 percent decrease from 2015. Harvested peanut acres were down one percent.

The highest average price was in Texas at $454 per ton, followed by North Carolina at $444 per ton. The lowest price average was in Mississippi at $340 per ton. Georgia was next lowest at $360 per ton. About 46.7 percent of the revenue from peanuts was produced in Georgia. Ranking next in revenue is Texas followed by Alabama.

Industry Changes Ahead

David Glidewell, vice president for procurement for Golden Peanut and Tree Nut, spoke to the National Peanut Buying Points Association Convention about the peanut market becoming more dynamic and assuming a more global identity.

Regarding China’s interest in U.S. peanuts, he says, “Is this demand to be consistent or only present at times of suppressed U.S. prices? The annual demand in China could be as large as the entire U.S. ending stocks. We must be focused on more than the traditional markets.”

Glidewell says the degree to which this occurs will still be impacted by the fundamentals of supply and demand and warehouse space, but he suggests that as price volatility increases, producers will be increasingly reluctant to price their entire crop at one price. The challenge for the peanut buying point is to have data and be informed on markets in order to assist clients in making sound price decisions.