News Briefs

Crisis Coming For Trucking
The new rules governing trucking will cause driver shortages according to Larry Barton of Great West Casualty Company, who further told members of the American Peanut Council that the industry needs to be aware. Truck drivers are being forced to record the hours they work with new electronic logs, which carriers are scrambling to get loaded. If caught without the log, it is a 10-hour penalty.
The number one concern will be a shortage of drivers. Thousands of new drivers will be needed nationwide as the new rules governing the amount of time spent on the road and mandatory rest periods is enacted. Because the median age of truck drivers is increasing, drivers will be needed to replace those retiring.

Hugh Nall, Southern Ag Carriers in Albany, Ga. has also been warning the peanut industry about trucking, given the new sanitary transportation rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Tyron Spearman of the National Peanut Buying Points Association says that these new rules will create further back-ups at buying points, which already experience log jams during harvest.
While changes are being implements, Spearman says everyone should be respectful of others and appreciative of the drivers.


Secretary Of Ag Addresses Farmers
In addition to President Trump (details on page 7), Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue also spoke to delegates at the 99th American Farm Bureau Federation convention in January.

Perdue said, “The Trump administration has cut out 22 regulations for every new one that’s come on the books.” He added that those efficiencies will save $56 million annually.

Besides rolling back onerous regulations all across the federal government, Perdue said USDA is also being restructured to be more responsive to the people it serves, moving agencies like Farm Service Agency, Risk Management and National Resources Conservation Service under one roof because they are intricately interconnected.

“The idea is to better serve agriculture,” Perdue said.


More Digital Technology
Mark Pryor, chief executive officer, SEAM, says the peanut industry is moving to more web-based technology. For 2017, new SEAM technology operating at buying points sent more than 15,000 messages and text messages to the producers.

Pryor says, “We are moving from mounds of paper to more electronic with on-line availability. It is a digital transformation for agriculture.”

Pryor says the mountains of data must be simplified, be graphic and allow the segments to ask questions of the data.

“Watch for electronic digital signatures, a new grower i-phone and i-pad app to track his/her peanuts and peanut contracts that are signed with your finger!”


Renominations To The GPC
Tim Burch, Baker County farmer, and Joe Boddiford, Screven County farmer, were both renominated without opposition to the Georgia Peanut Commission board of directors at nomination meetings held on Dec. 14, 2017. The Georgia Farm Bureau Federation conducted the nomination meetings for the commission’s district one and three.

Burch and Boddiford previously held the seat for their respective district, which expired Dec. 31, 2017. Now, after renomination, they will serve Georgia peanut farmers on the board for the next three years.
The Georgia peanut production area is divided into five districts based on acreage distribution and additional board members include: Armond Morris of Tift County, chairman, representing district two; Rodney Dawson of Pulaski County, representing district four; and Donald Chase of Macon County, representing district five.

The Georgia Peanut Commission represents more than 3,400 peanut farm families in the state and conducts programs in the areas of research, promotion and education. For more information on the programs of the Georgia Peanut Commission, visit


International Peanut Forum
Registration is underway for the 2018 International Peanut Forum, set for April 11-13, 2018 in Athens, Greece. Registration is $825 through the American Peanut Council.

The IPF is an ideal opportunity to network with the whole peanut supply chain: farmers, shellers, exporters, brokers, dealers, manufacturers, testing laboratories and equipment suppliers participating from around the world.

The theme of the 2018 conference is “Peanuts – the Protein for Tomorrow’s Champions,” with session topics ranging from nutrition and allergy research to new product launches and supply and demand. For more information, email Louise McKerchar at


APC Elects Officers
At the recent Winter Conference, newly elected officers of the American Peanut Council were installed for 2017-18. They are as follows:

Charles Birdsong, Chairman (Birdsong Peanuts)
Sid Levy, Vice-Chairman (SGL International)
Monty Rast, Secretary-Treasurer (South Carolina Peanut Producers)
Nick Melhuish, Immediate Past Chair (Algood)

A budget of $697,040 was approved. The organization has 44 manufacturer members, 112 allied members, 13 grower groups, 15 shellers and also assists with the Peanut Foundation. Ten new members were added since June 2017.

Officers for the APC’s Export Committee are as follows:
Brent Cuddy, Chairman (Golden Peanut)
Bob Sutter, Vice Chairman (North Carolina Peanut Producers)
Joe West, Secretary Treasurer (Olam/McCleskey)
Jeff Roper, Immediate Past Chair (Texas Peanut Producers)

An approved export budget totaled $588,972. The organization has 15 sheller members and 40 international or allied members. Funding for U.S. peanut producers comes through the National Peanut Board. The APC’s export committee coordinates the International Peanut Forum.
For information on the APC, go to


NPB Appointees: Corcoran, Adams
Tom Corcoran, Barbour County, Alabama, farmer, is a newly appointed member to the National Peanut Board by Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. Also from Alabama, Thomas Adams, Henry County, is a newly appointed alternate to the board. The appointees will serve three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2018, and ending Dec. 21, 2020.

“Research and consumer education are keys to growing the $1 billion peanut industry in America,” said Perdue. “Both the new and continuing members of the board bring great insight to this work from their many years of experience helping America’s 7,000 peanut-farming families improve production practices and continue to produce the world’s highest-quality peanut product for people around the globe.”

The National Peanut Board is a research and promotion program that is industry-funded and authorized by Congress. The board is composed of 12 producer members and their alternates. Eleven members and alternates are from the primary peanut producing states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. An at-large member and alternate represent the minor peanut producing states.


Challenge Raises 10 Tons Of PB
Florida Panhandle residents donated more than 20,000 pounds of peanut butter to this year’s UF/IFAS Extension Peanut Butter Challenge.

Combine nearly 9,000 pounds in donations to UF/IFAS Extension county offices with 11,340 pounds from the Florida Peanut Producers Association (FPPA), and you get 20,258 pounds of peanut butter to feed the hungry in the Panhandle’s 16 counties.

Since 2012, the Extension faculty, volunteers and the FPPA have collected jars of peanut butter in the 16 counties that make up the UF/IFAS Northwest District. The peanut butter will go to food pantries from Pensacola to Monticello.

“The Peanut Butter Challenge raises awareness of the important contribution of Florida’s peanut growers and helps provide a healthy, locally produced product to Panhandle families who do not have easy access to nutritious food,” says Libbie Johnson, Escambia County Extension agent and the co-organizer of the challenge.

Leading the way in this year’s Challenge was Escambia County with 2,495 pounds, followed by Jefferson County with 1,575, Santa Rosa with 1,161 and Bay with 1,092. The FPPA donated seven pallets of peanut butter to the challenge.

Ken Barton, FPPA executive director, thanked Peanut Proud for helpbuying peanut butter at cost. Peanut Proud delivered more than 430,000 jars to disaster relief efforts and food banks in the Southeastern United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico in 2017.

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