Thursday, September 29, 2022

News Briefs

In Brief

⇒ Transportation leaders hear about rising peanut input costs, supply chain issues.

⇒ A surprising 300,000 tons needing re-grading by Georgia inspectors. 

⇒ Peanut Proud sends truckloads of PB to Kentucky. 

⇒ Congressman Bishop includes funding for aflatoxin research in ag budget.

⇒ Pandemic-related trends of online grocery shopping, cooking at home to continue. 

⇒ Agriculture priorities outlined at national farm bureau meeting in Atlanta.

Peanuts Part Of National Transportation Meeting 

Georgia Peanut Commission executive director Don Koehler recently participated in a roundtable discussion with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, U.S. Port Envoy John Porcari and the Georgia Ports Authority in Savannah, Georgia.

“I applaud the efforts of the Georgia Ports Authority and the U.S. Department of Transportation for working together on infrastructure and transportation issues,” Koehler says. “Additionally, I applaud Secretary Buttigieg for traveling to Georgia in order to seek input from various grassroots organizations.”

During the meeting, Koehler provided comments on supply chain issues, rising costs of inputs and the need for education regarding career opportunities in the trucking industry. 

FSIS Post Harvest Review 

The Georgia Federal State Inspection Service recently hosted their annual peanut inspector’s post harvest review of the 2021 season. 

Peanut production at 96.9% graded was 1.6 million tons. Some producers are yet to deliver their crop. What was alarming to inspectors was the number of re-grades at more than 300,000 tons, which adds extra time and work to the process.

District managers’ efforts to recruit quality temporary personnel were mixed with some having excellent personnel from mostly returning employees. One problem was the competition from other job openings. Work ethic is also a significant problem at some locations where new hires work until lunch and never return. By working together, the grading service was able to keep peanuts moving until others could be trained or hired.

At the event, National Peanut Buying Points Association executive director Tyron Spearman said, “Keeping the buying points moving during harvest is critical, and the inspection teams in each state are extremely important. We know that labor is hard to find, but each state has done a remarkable job in getting this crop inspected.” 

Inspectors for the 2022 season are already being trained. 

Peanut Proud Answering The Call 

A total of 30,240 jars were delivered to Cumberland Trace Elementary school in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in December to assist feeding workers and families impacted by tornados. 

The peanut butter and trucking was donated by Golden Boy. Several truckloads of Peanut Proud peanut butter have been ordered from Tara Foods/Kroger. At least one of those truckloads was delivered in January. Additionally, the GPC’s Joy Crosby was instrumental in setting up the delivery.

Peanut Proud is a grass roots organization staffed by volunteers. Because of this, almost 100% of donations are used to purchase peanut butter for those in need. Peanut Proud’s manufacturing partner Kroger provides the peanut butter at cost. 

To donate, send a check payable to Peanut Proud to P.O. Box 446, Blakely, GA 39823, or contact Gregg Grimsley at ggrimsley@birdsongpeanuts.com. Peanut Proud, Inc. is a registered 501(c)3 tax-exempt corporation.

USDA/ARS Continues Aflatoxin Research

The United States Peanut Federation has been working with Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-GA) on additional funds for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service National Peanut Research Lab and Fort Valley State University for aflatoxin research.

Bishop successfully included funding in the fiscal year 2021 agricultural appropriations legislation for aflatoxin research. Additional funds for aflatoxin research are in the 2022 agricultural appropriations legislation.

Areas of research to advance efforts to eliminate aflatoxin include:

Moisture control, measurement and uniformity during post harvest handling and storage. 

Genetic/genomic solutions specifically for drought tolerance for aflatoxin.

Developing a risk index for in-season mitigation of aflatoxin using new techniques.

High throughput non-destructive testing for single kernel aflatoxin.

Updating the statistical modeling to reflect current sampling and future needs. 

The USPF is comprised of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation,  American Peanut Shellers Association, and the National Peanut Buying Points Association. The group serves as a unified voice in Washington D.C. for the peanut industry and advocates for strong agricultural policy.

Pandemic Food Trends Continue 

At the American Peanut Council winter conference, vice president of FMI, The Food Industry Association, Rick Stein discussed consumer food trends. Stein said although pandemic-related pressures have begun to ease, many shoppers indicate they will continue to prepare meals at home. 

Online ordering for safer grocery shopping is also expected to continue.

For years, shoppers have told FMI they want to eat better and live healthier lives. Cooking at home is a path for achieving these goals. Consumers are also concerned about social and environmental responsibility. 

Stein said their industry has prioritized eliminating food waste, social justice and efforts in diversity hiring, and energy-use reduction.

American Farm Bureau Convention In Atlanta 

The American Farm Bureau Convention in Atlanta featured workshops, a trade show, a video from the president of the United States, keynote addresses and awards. 

During a recorded message, President Joe Biden expressed his appreciation for farmers and ranchers and highlighted the administration’s priorities related to the Packers and Stockyards Act, infrastructure improvements and promoting fair competition in agricultural markets.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack shared his thoughts on broadband deployment, trade negotiations, and investments in livestock processing capabilities. Vilsack also addressed the prospect of climate-smart commodities.

“Listening to Farm Bureau and listening to those in agriculture, we know that it’s important to establish a partnership in this effort to create climate-smart commodities,” Secretary Vilsack said. 

“This is not something that’s top-down, this is really a bottom-up effort. We know that it has to be voluntary, and it has to be incentive based. It can’t be regulated.”

In the trade show, the Georgia Farm Bureau booth was popular because of the fried peanuts from the Georgia Peanut Commission and the grilled PB&Js from the National Peanut Buying Points Association. Over 2,000 PB&Js were served to farmers and families from all over the country. 

American Farm Bureau president Zippy Duvall stopped by for a sandwich and joining Spearman on the grill was former ag secretary Sonny Perdue.

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