News Briefs

 
 
In Brief:
 

• CCC announces 2009 loan levels.

• Ag committee chairman riled at being left out of carbon deal.

• GPC requests extension to crop insurance deadline.

• Calculator helps determine right amount of ventilation needed.

• NPB reaffirmed by wide margin.

• Producers attend SnackEx ‘09 to tout U.S.-origin peanuts.

• Syngenta Crop Protection acquires Georgia-based Circle One Global.

 

   

Loan Rates For 2009 Crop
The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) has announced the 2009 loan rates for the four types of peanuts. Based on type, quality and location, the average per-ton loan levels are as follows: runners - $354.40 per ton; Spanish - $350.11 per ton; Valencia and Virginia-type peanuts - $358.26 per ton.

The CCC calculated the price support levels for each type using the same method as last year – the national average loan rate of $355 per ton and the five-year average quality factors along with a three-year simple average weighted production. Rates are effective Aug. 1, 2009.

The 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 percent of various sizes of kernels in each ton.
The CCC uses the percentage of sound mature kernels (SMKs) and sound splits (SS) to compute the basic loan value. SMKs are whole kernels that pass over the testing screen of each type. SS are whole kernels split into two pieces. Excess SS receive a discount. Discounts are also given for “other” kernels, damaged kernels, foreign materials and loose shell kernels, which are more likely to be contaminated with aflatoxin.


Ag Left Out Of Carbon Deal
The Energy and Commerce Committee passed the 930-page Climate Change Bill recently. However, much of the agricultural community is upset at being left out.

No-till farming and other agricultural practices lower greenhouse gas emissions by capturing carbon. The bill establishes a cap-and-trade system that limits carbon emissions from industries and allows those capped industries to buy offsets.

Rep. Collin Peterson, chairman of the ag committee, is angry at being omitted, and says the bill faces a tough fight.


Extension On Crop Insurance Denied
The Georgia Peanut Commission requested a 10-day extension to the peanut planting deadline for crop insurance from the USDA Risk Management Agency. Their request was denied. Therefore, the Final Planting Date (FPD) for Alabama, Florida and Georgia was May 31. This is the date by which producers must plant and not have their production guarantee reduced.

The late-planting period for peanuts is 15 days after the FPD. If peanuts are planted after the FPD but prior to the end of the late-planting period, the production guarantee will be reduced by one percent for each day planted after the FPD.

If eligible, peanuts planted after the end of the late-planting period are insurable, and coverage is established by multiplying the production guarantee for timely planted peanuts by 50 percent.

Contact your crop insurance agent for details.


Warehouse Ventilation Calculator
A calculator that helps peanut handlers and processors determine the right amount of ventilation for storage warehouses is available on the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Web site.

Agricultural engineers Chris Butts and John Smith (retired) at the USDA-ARS National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, Ga., conducted research to determine proper storage conditions. The result is an online tool to help calculate warehouse capacity, dimensions and headspace ventilation requirements for safe storage of peanuts.

Good storage practices include adequate ventilation of the space above the peanuts to remove moisture-laden air and prevent condensation. The calculator gives the recommended airflow rate based on changing the volume of air in the space above the peanuts once every two to three minutes. The calculator also provides the proper amount of inlet area. By selecting the peanut market type that will be stored in the warehouse, the tool adjusts its calculations to account for the differences among the types of peanuts.

The warehouse ventilation calculator can be found at www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=7338.


More Peanut Butter Donations

Kelley Manufacturing Company of Tifton, Ga., recently donated 321 jars of peanut butter to the Tifton post office for the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.

The GPC had urged consumers to support the peanut industry by donating peanut butter for this cause. KMC read about the campaign in the Peanut Farm Market News and contacted all company employees and subsidiaries to join in the hunger campaign.

Bennie Branch, KMC president, said, “It is the cumulative efforts of our entire industry that can make a difference, and this is a perfect example of helping others with a good, inexpensive, nutritious product that is now in excess. This helps everyone.”


National Peanut Board Reaffirmed

USDA has announced the passage of a referendum to continue the National Peanut Board, a farmer-funded advertising, promotion and research board that works to increase demand for USA-grown peanuts.

Held in April, the referendum passed by 89 percent of the producers who voted. Ballots were mailed to all peanut producers who paid the promotion assessment in 2008.

“We’re thrilled at this vote of confidence, and we pledge to continue working hard to bring great value to America’s peanut farmers,” said Roger Neitsch, NPB chairman. “We want to thank all of our friends throughout the peanut industry who not only supported the referendum, but have proven to be great partners every day.”

Since its inception in 2001, the NPB has been a critical factor in maintaining receptive consumer markets and increasing consumption of USA-grown peanuts.

“Peanut farmers everywhere can be proud to have such a great ‘self help’ program that’s funded by farmers and led by farmers. You’re really making a difference in everything from food allergy education and research to new product development,” said Raffaela Marie Fenn, NPB president and managing director.

“We’re always stretching ourselves and looking for new ways to spread the word about the great nutritional benefits and culinary versatility of peanuts.”

Highlights of the NPBs efforts include: increased peanut mentions on menus of the top 200 restaurant chains by 146 percent over the past seven years (source: Food Beat, Inc.); increased peanut butter usage by an average of 21.5 percent since the launch of NPB programs; and invested more than $13 million on more than 275 production research projects to help farmers increase yields while implementing the most sustainable farming practices.

The NPB has also funded more than $6 million in food allergy research, education and outreach to help identify causes and seek treatments for food allergy sufferers and recently launched “Peanuts: Energy for the Good Life,” the centerpiece of a new nationwide advertising campaign.


Urging More Government Purchases
Despite the market issues faced by peanut producers, U.S. government purchases of peanut butter have declined by 63 percent since their peak in 1992. The GPC, on behalf of the state’s 4,500 peanut producers, is urging USDA to purchase peanut butter for the government feeding program.

The commission sent a letter to Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack requesting USDA purchase peanut butter in the government feeding programs. Earlier this year, Sec. Vilsack announced increased purchases of dry milk, turkey, pork, lamb and walnuts.

“We believe the peanut industry has faced an extremely trying quarter and would benefit greatly from additional government purchases,” says Armond Morris, GPC chairman. “These purchases would not only increase product demand, but would also show government confidence in peanut products in the wake of the salmonella recall.”

Peanut butter purchases by USDA peaked in the early 90s with 82,053,775 pounds and has now diminished to 30,694,365 for the 2007/2008 year.

The GPC is encouraging all producers and everyone affiliated with the peanut industry to contact their Congressman and Senators requesting assistance. A suggested letter is available online at www.AmericanPeanuts.com.

Earlier this year, the American Peanut Council organized a committee to contact those government agencies capable of buying peanut butter and peanut products for nutrition programs. For the first eight months, government purchases of peanut butter and roasted nuts are up 20.5 percent.


SnackEx 09: The Event That Means Business

Berlin, Germany, was the destination for the 2009 SnackEx exhibition and conference. This biennial event is Europe’s only international trade show dedicated entirely to the savory snack and snack nut markets. This year the show attracted more than 100 exhibitors and over 300 leaders and decision makers from 30 countries around the world pre-registering as delegates.

SnackEx delegates were able to sample hundreds of snack and nut products from around the world and to get a taste for different cultures’ snacking innovations and trends – from roasted tomato and basil-flavored chips to hot wasabi-coated peanuts.

Kevin Roberts, CEO of the advertising company Saatchi & Saatchi, kicked-off the event with the good news that recession-hit consumers are still enjoying the small pleasures of life and with indulgent snacks. Various conference seminars and workshops provided a wide range of topics covering the main technical, consumer and legislative issues facing our industry.

Exhibitors included many prominent companies in the industry, from equipment and ingredient suppliers to the manufacturing companies, many of whom were introducing innovative new products.

The American Peanut Council (APC) exhibited at the show, and four American peanut farmers from Georgia, Florida and Texas were on hand to answer questions on growing and harvesting and the food safety aspects of producing peanuts in the USA.

Otis Johnson, chairman of the APC’s Export Division Board, said, “This is a great way for us to meet and connect with potential customers and persuade them of the benefits of our U.S.-origin peanuts over our competitors. This sort of trade outreach is a vital tool in our industry’s marketing efforts.”


Syngenta Acquires Circle One Global
Syngenta Crop Protection recently announced that it has acquired Georgia-based Circle One Global, Inc., to add an innovative antitoxin crop protection technology to the company’s portfolio.

Circle One Global markets the product Afla-Guard, which is aimed at reducing aflatoxin, a toxin that can develop in crops such as corn and peanuts, particularly in heat and drought.

“The acquisition of this technology adds an important biological crop protection technology to the Syngenta portfolio,” said Valdemar Fischer, president of Syngenta Crop Protection, North America. “This new, sustainable technology can dramatically increase usable yield, protect growers’ investments in crop production and may allow for the re-introduction of corn to parts of the southern U.S. where aflatoxin has prevented its cultivation for many years.”

Afla-Guard contains a naturally-occurring, non-toxic fungus that reduces the development of the fungi that produce aflatoxin in grains, nuts and oil seeds through competition.

Use of Afla-Guard will provide a new and effective tool to complement cultural and management practices that can also help to reduce aflatoxin contamination, which costs producers more than $200 million annually.

The Afla-Guard technology was developed by the USDA Agricultural Research Service and licensed exclusively to Circle One Global in 2002. The product is registered for use on corn and peanuts in the United States.

Syngenta plans to apply for an extension of the registration line to other crops and expand production. The company also plans to seek registration of Afla-Guard in other countries.

For additional information, go to www.afla-guard.com or call 866-SYNGENTA (866-796-4368).


NPB Unites With Atlanta Braves
The National Peanut Board is partnering with the Atlanta Braves to promote the healthful benefits of peanuts and peanut butter.

Since opening day, messages have been featured on the Braves’ main scoreboard and club level LED boards as well as on the “Peanuts: Energy for the Good Life” sample bags tossed out to thousands of fans during the games.

Buddy McNutty will be at Turner Field to interact with fans and give away mini Buddy McNutty dolls and packs of peanuts at special games. The first game is July 18 against the New York Mets. The second game is August 15 when the Braves take on Philadelphia.

NPB is the presenting sponsor of the Braves All-Star Baseball Fall Classic at the Braves Baseball Academy on Sept. 5-6, 2009. Since 2006, the Braves Baseball Academy has impacted the lives of hundreds of inner-city youth.