News Briefs: July 2023

In Brief: USDA announces 2023 peanut loan rates effective Aug. 1. China less dependent on U.S. ag exports, while U.S. is more dependent on China. Growers conference: “Building On Our Strengths.  International forum: Peanuts are essential global food.  Alabama ranks No. 2 in peanut production. Unified export strategy identifies target markets, sets goals. Libbie Johnson named new APPA executive director. In Memoriam: Walt Mozingo

USDA Announces 2023 Peanut Loan Rates

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation recently announced 2023-crop loan rates for four types of peanuts. The rates take effect Aug. 1, 2023, the beginning of the peanut crop year.

Eligible producers can obtain peanut loans through their local Farm Service Agency county offices or alternative delivery partners, such as Designated Marketing Associations and Cooperative Marketing Associations. These loans provide producers with interim financing on their production and facilitate the orderly distribution of loan-eligible peanuts throughout the year.

The 2018 Farm Bill established the national loan rate for peanuts at $355 per ton. CCC calculated the price support levels for each peanut type using the same method as last year. The 2023 Crop Peanut Loan Rate was calculated using the national loan rate and five-year average quality factors, along with a three-year simple average weighted production. For an average-grade ton of 2023-crop peanuts, loan levels by type are:

Runner – $354.41 per ton

Spanish – $344.27 per ton

Valencia – 359.76 per ton

Virginia – $359.76 per ton

CCC applies premiums and discounts for quality factors to compute the loan value for an individual ton of peanuts. The actual loan level depends on the percentage of various sizes of kernels in each ton. CCC uses the percentage of sound mature kernels (SMK) and sound splits to compute the basic loan value of the load. SMKs are whole kernels that pass over the testing screen officially designated for each type of peanut. Sound splits are whole kernels split into two pieces. Excess sound splits receive discounts. There are discounts for other kernels, damaged kernels and foreign materials. An additional discount occurs for loose shell kernels. Other quality discounts also may apply.

China Less Dependent On U.S. Ag Export Market

A recent study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics concludes that while the United States is growing more dependent on China as an agricultural export market, China is becoming less dependent on the United States for its agricultural goods. China is currently the United States’ third largest export market for peanuts, although the market is primarily for crushing. 

According to the 2009 Peterson report, 27% of China’s agricultural imports came from the United States. In 2022, that number was only 18%. In 2009, 13% of U.S. agricultural exports went to China; but in 2022, 19% of total U.S. agricultural exports went to China. Almost 50% of U.S. agricultural exports to China are soybeans, and those exports are increasing in terms of dollars and tonnage. However, a range of other U.S. agricultural products are seeing a decline in shipments, including for the first three months of 2023.

The American Peanut Council recently organized an educational seminar and networking event for Chinese delegates and U.S. exporters prior to the International Peanut Forum in Portugal.

This represented the first in-person meeting between the U.S. industry and the Chinese trade since 2019. 

In total, more than 30 people joined the event, with 14 representatives from China. During the seminar, the National Peanut Board’s Bob Parker provided an overview of the U.S. peanut industry and Nan Xu from Qingdao Foodlink Co. gave an update on Chinese production and market conditions. 

China was the U.S. peanut industry’s third-largest export market in 2022, with shipments totaling 81,921 MT valued at $78 million.

2023 Peanut Growers Conference

The 24th Annual Southern Peanut Growers Conference is July 27-29, 2023, at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort in Miramar Beach, Florida. Hosted by Georgia Peanut Commission and Grower Associations in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi, the three-day event covers legislation, production marketing and promotion plus a ladies program and golf tournament. The theme this year is “Building on our Strengths.” Room reservations at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort can be made on line at www.Sandestin.com or by calling 1-800-320-8115. 

During Saturday’s general session, the keynote speaker is U.S. Rep. Austin Scott, (R-GA), vice chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. 

Friday’s opening session will feature U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Peanut Research Lab director Marshall Lamb and University of Georgia peanut breeder Nino Brown talking about the future of non-food uses of peanuts. The mid-morning session on Friday will feature “Strengths in Precision Agriculture” with Auburn University’s Steve Li, the University of Florida’s Ian Small and the University of Georgia’s Simer Virk as speakers in this session.

Highlighting the prayer breakfast will be Kermit George, who lost his arm but survived an alligator attack. Social media influencer and ag advocate Michelle Miller, known as Farm Babe, will be the featured speaker at Friday’s luncheon. 

Registration is $195 for growers. For more information and a complete schedule of events, go to www.southernpeanutfarmers.org.

NPB Releases 2023 Budget 

For fiscal year 2023, the National Peanut Board will spend an estimated $12 million for promotions and research. Including savings, interest and late revenue from the prior year, the total available is more than $13 million. 

In a breakdown of the budget, domestic promotions and market development account for $8.4 million, with export promotions and market development receiving $460,000. Production research is allotted $2.5 million, with grower and intra-industry communications set at $654,000.

Alabama’s Top Peanut Counties

The USDA National Agricultural Statistic Service has published the 2022 estimated peanut production for Alabama. NASS has estimated that Alabama peanut growers produced 559 million pounds of peanuts in 2022. That makes Alabama second in the nation in peanut production, with Georgia ranking first. The U.S. produced 5.57 billion pounds of peanuts in 2022.

Houston County is estimated as the top peanut-producing county with 106,960,000 pounds of peanuts produced, and Geneva County comes in next at 71,680,000 pounds of peanuts produced. The top five is rounded out by Baldwin County, Henry County and Escambia County, respectively.

International Peanut Forum Talks Sustainability 

The global peanut industry has experienced significant changes in recent years with social, environmental and health policies all playing a key role and being drivers of growth in the sector. This and more were discussed during the International Peanut Forum in Lisbon, Portugal, in April.

The overall sentiment is that peanuts are essential in the global food supply chain for key markets such as China, India and the United States, where the legume is used as a snack, an oil source or an affordable plant-based protein. In addition, they are an exchange currency source for many suppliers such as Argentina, Brazil, India, Nigeria and Senegal. Additionally, peanuts are often part of a growing cycle to enrich soils with lower production costs than other nuts in countries such as Brazil, where farmers alternate peanuts with sugar cane.

Developing Future Export Strategy

The American Peanut Council Export Committee has prepared the 2024 Unified Export Strategy, which serves as the peanut industry’s application for funding under USDA’s Market Access and Foreign Market Development programs. 

The export funding programs are part of the Farm Bill and available to U.S. ag commodity groups, including the APC. The UES identifies target markets with opportunities for export growth and lays out a plan for how to accomplish goals in each of the identified countries or regions. 

The overall goal of the export program is to increase exports of U.S. peanuts, with specific goals set for each of the target markets. The export committee identified Canada, Mexico, the European Union, Japan, China, the United Kingdom and an area for projects that impact all markets described as “Global Issues.” 

The 2024 UES will expand current activities and build knowledge on potential new markets. The 2024 application was completed in May. APC values its strong partnership with USDA and looks forward to furthering work to increase peanut exports.

The American Peanut Council was approved for $2,498,000 for MAP funding projects and $470,000 for FMD programs to promote peanuts and peanut products in selected markets in 2023. A group of Congressional leaders have introduced a bill to double the export promotion programs next year.

In Memoriam: Walt Mozingo

The peanut industry lost a tremendous friend and researcher with the passing of Roy Walton Mozingo, 82, of Kenly, Virginia, in April. 

Mozingo made many contributions to the peanut industry. He served as president of the American Peanut Research and Education Society in 1992-93 and is credited with establishing the Peanut Variety and Quality Evaluation program, an important peanut breeding testing program for the Virginia-Carolina region.

“Walt was one of the first people in the peanut industry that I met when I began my career at NC State in 1996,” says David Jordan, North Carolina Extension state peanut specialist. “Within the first few weeks in my role as peanut specialist, I traveled to research stations and on-farm sites associated with PVQE. Walt was always a joy to be around and freely passed along his knowledge of peanuts and the peanut industry.”

Mozingo was raised on a tobacco farm, and with the encouragement of the high school agriculture teacher, pursued higher education at NCSU after graduating from Princeton High School. He earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree.

He was hired by Virginia Tech University to start a research program from the ground up that evaluated peanut varieties supplied by Virginia Tech and NCSU. That program, which became known as the PVQE, resulted in him winning numerous awards for his research and contributions to the peanut industry. It also earned him a promotion to a professorship at Virginia Tech.

Mozingo was active in Holland Baptist Church where he served as a deacon and was Sunday school director. In later years, he helped with the construction of home accessibility ramps for those in need, and enjoyed traveling with his wife, Judy, who preceded him in death and watching his grandchildren and great grandchildren grow.

Sincere condolences to the family and friends of peanut pioneer, Walt Mozingo.

New Executive Director For APPA

Libbie Johnson

Libbie Johnson joined the Alabama Peanut Producers Association as executive director in June.

“I’m excited to get to know Alabama’s peanut producers and understand more about agriculture in Alabama,” Johnson says. “I’m thankful to represent such a unique commodity and the hard-working farmers of this state.”

As executive director, Johnson will oversee peanut checkoff projects related to research, promotion and education. She’ll also work with land-grant universities and farmers on research trials, advocate for the protein-packed legume with decision-makers in Washington, D.C., and expand the peanut industry’s footprint in Alabama along with other staff in the APPA’s Dothan office.

“Libbie is energetic, knowledgeable and talented, and we are excited to see the direction she takes our organization,” says APPA President Carl Sanders, who farms in Coffee County. “The board is confident in Libbie’s ability to advocate for Alabama peanut farmers and make an impact on our industry.”

APPA is an affiliate of the Alabama Farmers Federation, the state’s largest farm organization serving 355,000 member families. Johnson will work closely with the Federation’s Governmental & Agricultural Programs staff.

Since 2003, Johnson has served farmers in the Florida Panhandle’s Milton and Escambia counties. Areas of expertise include row crops, fruits and vegetables, livestock and natural resources.

Johnson is a past president of the Florida Association of County Agricultural Agents; and served on the University of Florida peanut team and the Sunbelt Ag Expo team. Florida Farm Bureau named her the Extension Professional of the Year in 2018, and she has earned multiple service awards from the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.

Johnson, a Louisiana native, holds bachelor’s degrees in political science and plant science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and a master’s degree in agroecology from UF.

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