Letter Asks For Help With EU
In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, the U.S. Peanut Federation together with Reps. David Scott, D-Ga., and Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., requested help in restoring trade with the European Union.
The letter read in part, “As House agricultural leaders and representatives of the nation’s top peanut-growing state, Georgia, we must bring an important trade issue concerning a non-tariff trade barrier related to peanuts to your attention. As you may already be aware, the European Union has imposed extraneous aflatoxin testing in peanuts, which has been affecting American peanut farmers.
“We are strong supporters of science and believe that science and regard for the public health should guide our regulatory principles when it comes to food safety. Through their rigorous testing and grading processes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and American peanut farmers demonstrate that they follow those same principles and are committed to producing high-quality peanuts that can be consumed safely.”
The EU enforces an extra level of testing at ports and maintains thresholds for aflatoxin that ranges from 2 to 15 parts per billion. Once a top export market, the U.S. peanut industry estimates it has lost approximately $170 million in sales to the EU, a trend that will continue unless a resolution is found.
“Your recent success resolving the aircraft tariff dispute was commendable, and the resolution of that dispute was a welcome sign to America’s farmers. We encourage you to build on that good faith by working with your European counterparts to resolve this issue and help our peanut farmers.”
Price Loss Coverage payments are made when the market year average is below the reference price. The market year average price last year, August 2020 to July 2021, was 21 cents per pound or $420 per ton.
The effective reference price for peanut is 26.75 cents per pound or $535 per ton. The market average price of $420 per ton is deducted from the reference price of $535 per ton for a PLC payment of $115 per ton. This payment, which is applied to 85% of the farm base, was scheduled to be made in October.
High Oleic Grows In Popularity
J. Leek Associates International director of technical services Jack Davis told buying point managers at a pre-harvest meeting that peanuts are about 50% oil. While extremely heart healthy, this rich oil content limits ways in which the product can be used.
“High-oleic peanuts have a modified composition that promotes exceptional resistance to oxidation after roasting. About 25% of the U.S. peanut acreage is high-oleic varieties in 2020, and the primary emphasis for all major breeding programs is the high-oleic trait.”
Who’s driving this move toward high-oleic peanuts?
“It is mainly confectioners, makers of snack bars and in-shell sellers where products are delivered in a single or multi-kernel format pushing the idea. In these products, a few bad peanuts can spoil the whole bunch,” Davis said.
Since high-oleic peanuts receive a premium in the shelled-goods market, manufacturers purchasing these shelled goods are mandating purity requirements before purchase. Mixing conventional and high-oleic peanuts negates the value.
“The overall system must be designed to eliminate contamination. Rapid testing during harvest is not the answer; however, a check-point in a robust system is the answer,” he said.
Premium Peanut Expands Into S.C.
Premium Peanut, an innovative, grower-owned peanut shelling company, plans to establish operations in Orangeburg County, South Carolina. The $64.3 million investment will create 130 new jobs.
Founded in 2014, Premium Peanut operates one of the newest and largest peanut shelling facilities in the world. The company began shelling peanuts in January 2016, with about 140,000 tons in shelling capacity. Through investments, efficiencies and growth, the company now has a plant capacity of 300,000 tons, which is about 10% of the U.S. peanut crop. Premium Peanut has made additional investments in cutting-edge technologies and enhancements, and added an oil mill, which opened in 2018.
With the South Carolina facility, Premium Peanut will provide more capacity and allow producers in that state the opportunity to be a part of a cooperative model. The facility will build on the company’s existing model, creating maximum value for its grower-owners. Premium Peanut’s customers consist of major snack, candy and peanut butter manufacturers domestically, as well as customers in more than 30 countries around the world.
Portions of the new facility are expected to be operational by spring 2022. Growers interested in learning more should contact Palmetto Peanut Buying Point at 803-823-2327. Individuals interested in joining the Premium Peanut team should visit their website.
“Premium Peanut is proud of the value we have been able to create for more than 400 grower-owners, in addition to providing quality products to customers around the world. We are thrilled to expand our operations and establish our footprint in South Carolina,” says Premium Peanut CEO Karl Zimmer.
Rogers Testifies To Ag Subcommittee
Meredith McNair Rogers of Camilla, Georgia, recently spoke at a roundtable hosted by the U.S. House Agriculture Committee General Farm Commodities and Risk Management Subcommittee. Representing the U.S. Peanut Federation, Rogers provided feedback on 2018 Farm Bill policies and the impact on peanut growers and the U.S. peanut industry.
Rogers’ testimony said in part, “Today, I want to update you on the state of peanut growers as it relates to the current PLC program. In addition to the yearly increases in input costs, my family farm has experienced significant cost increases this planting and harvesting season. The cost of fertilizer for our peanut crop has doubled this year.
“Along with these unforeseen expenses, our heavy machinery has also spiked in both cost and demand. As many of you know, the equipment necessary for growing peanuts can only be used for the planting and harvesting of peanuts, such as a digger, shaker, and a picker.”
Virtual Learning Now Available
The Georgia Peanut Commission and Georgia Public Broadcasting Education have launched a new virtual learning opportunity about Georgia peanuts. This interactive journey, available at gpb.org/peanuts, offers students a unique learning experience as they explore the impact peanuts have on Georgia and beyond.
“We are excited to partner with GPB Education in development of this new virtual educational resource,” says Tim Burch, GPC education and information committee chairman. “The resource for teachers and students third to eighth grade provides an overview of the peanut industry’s value in Georgia and captures the many career opportunities available within the industry.”
Improve Memory, Reduce Stress With Peanuts
Working with The Peanut Institute, the University of Barcelona has released new research showing that consumption of peanuts and peanut butter may improve cognitive function and reduce stress in healthy young adults.
The study’s authors point to polyphenols in peanuts that likely aided memory, executive function and processing speed. It also resulted in a reduction of cortisol, anxiety and depressive levels in a control group of mostly college students. The study was published online in Clinical Nutrition in September.
Georgia Peanut Farm Show Planned
Make plans to attend the 45th annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 19-20, 2022, at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, Georgia. On Wednesday, the show will be open 1 to 5 p.m., and Thursday, it is open from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The two-day show is free and open to all farmers and industry representatives.
Attendees will have the opportunity to visit with nearly 100 agribusinesses and organizations. Farmers will be able to earn private and commercial pesticide applicator certification, as well as learn about research developments during the University of Georgia production seminar and sponsored peanut seed seminar.
Farm Show chairman Rodney Dawson says, “I encourage farmers to attend this two-day show in Tifton. The knowledge they will gain from industry representatives and seminars is an investment in the future of their farm.”
The Georgia Peanut Commission, in cooperation with OneBlood, will host a blood drive from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 20. At the close of Thursday, there will be nearly $10,000 in door prizes presented to farmers, as well as a grand door prize, vendor products, certificates and equipment.
For more information on the show, contact the Georgia Peanut Commission office at 229-386-3470 or visit www.gapeanuts.com.