Monday, May 27, 2024

News Briefs: May 2024

In Brief: USDA estimates peanut plantings will be down less than 1%.  New Delta Peanut CEO brings 25 years experience, leadership.   Research Foundation outlines priorities for continued genome research.  State organizations celebrate National Peanut Month.  Weather outlook calls for dry fall, says UGA climatologist.  Registration open for Peanut Congress, Southern Peanut Growers Conference.

USDA Releases Prospective Plantings Report

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released the Prospective Plantings report in late March. The report provides estimates of U.S. farmers’ 2024 planting intentions based on surveys conducted during the first two weeks of March from a sample of nearly 72,000 farm operators across the nation.

According to the report, peanut growers intend to plant 1.65 million acres in 2024, down less than 1% from last year. Compared with 2023, planted acreage is expected to increase 6% or more in Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina. The greatest decline is expected in Texas, where planted area is expected to be down 29% from last year. Beginning in 2024, peanut estimates began in Missouri but were discontinued in New Mexico.

All cotton-planted area for 2024 is estimated at 10.7 million acres, up 4% from last year. Upland area is estimated at 10.5 million acres, up 4%. American Pima area is estimated at 203,000 acres, up 38% from 2023.

Corn-planted area for all purposes in 2024 is estimated at 90.0 million acres, down 5% or 4.61 million acres from last year. Corn-planted acreage is expected to be down or unchanged in 38 of the 48 estimating states.

Soybean-planted area for 2024 is estimated at 86.5 million acres, up 3% from last year, with planted acreage up or unchanged in 24 of the 29 estimating States.

All wheat-planted area for 2024 is estimated at 47.5 million acres, down 4% from 2023.

Delta Peanut Selects CEO

Delta Peanut, the Jonesboro, Arkansas, peanut shelling facility, recently announced that Wes Battson has been named as its new chief executive officer. He assumed responsibilities beginning April 8, 2024. Board member and grower owner, Jeremy Baltz, served as interim CEO.

“Following a comprehensive search, we are excited to have Wes lead Delta Peanut in its next phase of growth,” says David Wildly, Delta Peanut board chairman. “Wes has a deep understanding both of manufacturing and agriculture, and he is committed to creating value for our grower-owners.”

Battson brings 25+ years of experience with a record of success in leadership roles within global manufacturing companies, domestically and internationally. This combined experience will help Delta leverage its integrated supply chain and lead it into the next phase of growth.

“I am excited and honored to join the Delta Peanut team and contribute to enhancing grower returns. Delta Peanut’s commitment to its grower-owners, coupled with its bold vision for growth, innovation and quality, deeply resonates with me,” Battson says.

Battson’s experience includes the almond and walnut industries and most recently he served as CEO of Capay Farms. He holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in chemistry, plus a Master of Business Administration with a management information systems emphasis from California State University.

Research Foundation Plans

Assessing the wishes of the peanut industry regarding the future research priorities was the goal of the board of directors of the Peanut Research Foundation. Chairperson Courtney Dorsett of Premium Peanut says the Foundation will support marker development from the genome mapping plus support the breeding programs targeting quality and nutritional goals.

Dorsett listed the priorities as follows: 1) release of TifCB7 variety with a high level of leaf spot resistance. 2) marker identification for resistance to white mold, sclerotinia, Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus, nematodes and rust; b) aflatoxin resistance; c) water efficiency, d) linoleic/oleic acid content, e) saturated and unsaturated fatty acid content, f) seed/pod weight; g) flavor attributes.

Dorsett says the Foundation has only scratched the surface in the the development and utilization of the peanut genome and marker-assisted selection, which the Foundation helped fund. “We have protected valuable peanut germplasm and provided centralized storage for complex sets of data. The future looks good and support from the entire industry is needed.”

Sikes To Lead NPBPA

Greg Sikes of Candler Peanut Company buying point in Brooklet, Georgia, has been elected president of the National Peanut Buying Points Association. Cole McNair of Birdsong-Damascus will serve as past president. Elected vice president is David Rushing of Birdsong Peanuts in Brooklet, Georgia. Rhonda Dixon of Dixon Farm Supply will continue as treasurer. Tyron Spearman of the Spearman Agency continues to serve as executive secretary, and Angela Elder will serve as assistant executive director.

For more information or to join, visit www.peanutbuyingpoints.org. NPBPA is a member of the U.S. Peanut Federation and has a director on the Georgia Peanut Commission and the Federal State Inspection Service.

APPA Sponsors Peanut Day

The Alabama Peanut Producers Association celebrated March is National Peanut Month with a proclamation from Gov. Kay Ivey at the Alabama Capitol and a peanut day at the Alabama State House.

“Peanut day at the Alabama State House helps remind our legislators that peanuts are an important crop for Alabama agriculture,” says APPA president, Carl Sanders, “Adding about $200 million to the state’s economy.”

Throughout the morning, APPA board members handed out jars of locally sourced peanut butter and peanuts to legislators and talked with them about topics concerning our Alabama peanut farmers.

Gov. Ivey’s proclamation recognized the peanut as the state legume of Alabama, as well as the impact the peanut industry has on the economy of the state, the farmers who grow peanuts, the nutritional value and environmentally friendly attributes. Gov. Ivey also received cans of peanuts from Sanders.

USA Peanut Congress Opens Registration

The 28th Annual USA Peanut Congress will be June 10-13, at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida. The Congress is jointly hosted between American Peanut Council and American Peanut Shellers Association.

Members can take advantage of early bird registration rates until May 6. For further registration information or a schedule of events, go to www.peanut-shellers.org.

Weather Outlook

Pam Knox, University of Georgia climatologist, outlines what producers can expect for this season’s weather.

“While we are currently quite wet across a lot of the region, the rapid switch to La Niña makes it more likely we will have a drought period this season,” Knox says. “Most of our recent droughts in the Southeast started in years when rapid transition occurred, including 1998, 2006, 2011 and 2016.”

Knox says the warmer-than-normal temperatures and drier-than-normal conditions will contribute to high demand for water by crops as well as increased evaporation from soil and water bodies, and that could cause drought to develop, especially if La Niña develops rapidly.

Where, when and if it occurs at all will depend on the activity in the tropics and where storms go, which isn’t known until they are formed.

“I would expect to see dry conditions in the fall across the region except where a tropical storm system moves near or over the area,” Knox says.

Georgia Farmers Invest In Research

The Georgia Peanut Commission board of directors approved $791,639 in funding for the 2024-25 research budget year. The research projects approved include 40 project proposals submitted from the University of Georgia, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College and the USDA Agricultural Research Service.

“As a peanut grower, I’m proud to invest in the Georgia Peanut Commission and in the future of the peanut industry by supporting research that continues to demonstrate a return on our investment,” says Donald Chase, research committee chairman.

The research programs primarily focus on peanut breeding, conservation methods, irrigation and water management, as well as pests, weed and disease management. Additional projects focus on non-food uses of peanuts to provide new opportunities for growth in the industry. These projects look at utilizing high-oleic peanuts in poultry feed, converting peanut oil from a non-drying oil to a drying oil for timber oils and coatings, reviewing George Washington Carver’s peanut uses for application in today’s world and finding new, non-food applications of peanuts and by-products.

Additionally, GPC manages funding for the Southeastern Peanut Research Initiative that includes research funding of $1.5 million for projects in Alabama, Florida and Georgia. These projects are funded through the National Peanut Board checkoff dollars from farmers.

For additional information and a complete list of the research projects funded by the Georgia Peanut Commission, visit www.gapeanuts.com.

GPC Celebrates National Peanut Month

The Georgia peanut industry kicked off March is National Peanut Month by hosting the 2024 Georgia PB&J Day in Atlanta, Georgia. During the event, the Georgia Peanut Commission and Peanut Proud donated 10,080 jars of peanut butter to the Atlanta Community Food Bank.

Governor Brian Kemp presented a proclamation recognizing March as National Peanut Month while Sen. Russ Goodman, chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee, and Rep. Robert Dickey, chairman of the House Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee presented resolutions recognizing the importance of Georgia’s peanut industry.

Joe Boddiford, GPC chairman, says, “Georgia’s 3,700 peanut farmers contribute approximately $2 billion annually to the state and local economy.”

Sponsors and exhibitors included the Georgia Peanut Commission, National Peanut Buying Points Association, Kroger, Georgia Farm Bureau, Georgia Federal-State Inspection Service, National Peanut Board, Peanut Proud, Atlanta Community Food Bank, Premium Peanut and the University of Georgia Peanut Team.

As part of the celebration, peanut butter valued at $10,000, was presented to the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which provides food and grocery products to nearly 700 community-based, nonprofit partner agencies with hunger relief programs throughout 29 counties in metro Atlanta and north Georgia.

Ben Burgess, corporate relations manager, says, “A recent study showed an average of 200,000 food-insecure households are served each month through the Atlanta Community Food Bank network. Peanut butter is a very nutritious and important product to those clients because it has a stable shelf life.”

2024 Peanut Growers Conference

The 25th Annual Southern Peanut Growers Conference will be held July 17-19, 2024, at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa, Savannah, Georgia. The three-day event provides farmers with information about peanut production, legislative issues, marketing and promotions. Visit the conference blog at southernpeanutfarmers.org/southern-peanut-growers-conference/ to see speaker and sponsor interviews as well as photos from past conferences.

In addition to the conference sessions, the event focuses on the family by offering a spouse program and a golf tournament. Additional information about the conference and sponsorship opportunities are available by contacting one of the coordinating partners.

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