Peanut producers voted overwhelmingly to continue the Peanut Promotion, Research and Information Program administered by the National Peanut Board in a referendum conducted by the U. S. Department of Agriculture, April 15-May 3.
In the referendum, 93% of peanut producers voting were in favor of continuing the program.
In order for the continuance referendum to pass, a majority of eligible producers needed to vote in favor of continuing the order. Growers who paid assessments on peanuts produced during the representative period from June 1, 2017, through May 31, 2018, were eligible to vote.
“I am very proud of the work we do at the National Peanut Board; especially in the areas of production research funding, peanut allergy prevention work and our promotion of the great taste and nutritional benefits of peanuts and peanut butter,” Dan Ward, 2019 chairman and a North Carolina peanut farmer, said in a news release. “The referendum results are an excellent endorsement of the high-quality of work our Board and staff do together.”The last referendum for peanuts was conducted by USDA in 2014, and is required by the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996.
The NPB has administered the program since 1999.
In the past five years, the board has delivered on its mission of improving the economic condition of U.S. peanut farmers and their families through compelling promotion and groundbreaking research. Some highlights include:
• Peanut per-capita consumption is at an all-time high, growing steadily from seven pounds in 2014 to 7.5 pounds in 2018.
• Among millennials, peanuts have the strongest reputation and are the preferred nut over other nut choices, according to a 2018 NPB brand tracking study by the Bantam Group.
• Peanut farmers supported the 2015 LEAP, or Learning Early About Peanut Allergy, study that showed early introduction of peanut products to infants helped reduce peanut allergies by 86%. This led to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease and American Academy of Pediatrics issuing official guidelines for introducing peanut foods to infants to help prevent peanut allergy.
• The NPB has accelerated its peanut allergy prevention outreach, education and involvement to healthcare professionals and consumers in the last five years. Since 2001, the board has allocated more than $25 million toward peanut allergy research and education.
• Since its inception, the NPB has invested a total of $34.5 million toward production research, contributing to significant yield increases and efficiencies for peanut producers. This total includes leveraging just $871,500 of NPB funds and other industry partners’ funds to obtain over $2 million in NIFA-matching funds for peanut production research.