Less Savings From Same Farm Bills
The possibility of getting a five-year
Farm Bill passed just got harder. A new
Congressional Budget Office estimate
says the amount of savings has changed
since last summer and it is much less.
The Senate bill savings estimate now
stands at $13.1 billion over 10 years,
not $23.1 billion. The House bill savings
figure fell from $35.1 billion over 10
years to $26.6 billion.
The CBO says that market changes
impact the savings estimates. Higher
costs are coming from Agriculture Risk
Coverage, or crop insurance, as commodity
prices have increased the promised
revenue guarantees. Some commodity
groups are favoring the old target
price program rather than the Agriculture
Risk Coverage (ARC) since funding
may be insufficient to cover costs.
Most commodity groups strongly favor
the crop insurance program. Groups
are willing to throw their weight behind
other programs, such as the supplemental
coverage option, which would
enhance crop insurance or a target price
program, if it doesn’t distort planting
Will Sequester Hurt Direct Payments?
Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack recently
said that the sequester budget cuts
could disrupt and cut agriculture by as
much as $8 billion, affecting as many as
He said, “Distributing direct payments
among producers will be equitable.
USDA is prepared to operate the
program and is also committed to giving
farmers in the Average Crop Revenue
Election program options to stay in
or withdraw from ACRE.”
Peanut farmers are hoping to retain
the $36 per ton direct payment that
should be distributed in October.
“I think there will be an impact on the
program with the sequester,” Vilsack
said. “Sequester may impact the amount
of payments, but I don’t think it will affect whether people get payments. And
I think anything that Congress does relative
to removing, reducing or modifying
direct payments, as they either formulate
a response to sequester or
formulate a Farm Bill, I suspect will be
in future years and won’t be this particular
The Secretary said it is also possible
that some producers could be asked to
return a percentage of commodity or
conservation payments made to them.
He said, “A cut of $60 million in agriculture
research could hurt many of our
No agreement by the two political
parties and the President on the sequester
clears the way for an $85 billion cut in
U.S. budgets this fiscal year and $1.2
trillion over the next 10 years.
SUSTA Ready To Help With Exporting
Troy Rosamond, Financial Director
of the Southern U.S. Trade Association
(SUSTA) told buying point managers
that SUSTA has the mission of increasing
southern U.S food and agricultural
exports. SUSTA covers 16 states and is
funded by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural
SUSTA is available to help small businesses,
trading companies with fewer
than 100 employees, farmer co-ops and
even wholesale/export companies.
SUSTA provides up to 50 percent reimbursement
for certain international
marketing expenses such as advertising,
point of sale materials, in-store promotions,
freight for samples, exhibiting at
international shows and travel to shows,
labeling changes and even giveaway
items. He noted that if you want to export,
this is a great place to start.
For more information, visit their Web
site at www.susta.org.
USDA Praises Producers, Buying Points
Tim Mehl, chief of the Warehouse
License and Examination Division of
USDA, praised the peanut industry for
an excellent job in handling the gigantic
2012 crop of peanuts.
Mehl said, “I know it took a lot of patience
at many locations as we worked
to get the peanut properly stored.”
A total of 29 shellers had 312 functional
warehouses approved to handle
3.8 million tons. That is up from 282
warehouse facilities the previous year.
Georgia has the most licensed nut facilities
with 127 and North Carolina is
second with 44. Arkansas is the newest
state with three approved.
Through September, the examination
branch has conducted 2,230 warehouse
examinations. He said that inspectors
will continue to monitor the stored
peanuts and make certain guidelines are
Grand Jury Takes On Salmonella
A federal grand jury has indicted four
people in a 2009 salmonella outbreak
linked to a Blakely, Ga., processing
plant. The indictment in federal court
in Georgia charges four employees with
Virginia-based Peanut Corp. of America.
The charges include conspiracy, wire
fraud, obstruction of justice related to
contaminated or misbranded food.
The company’s processing plants were
blamed for the outbreak that killed nine
people and sickened hundreds. The
company later went bankrupt.
Named in the indictment were company
owner Stewart Parnell, vice president
Michael Parnell, Georgia plant
manager Samuel Lightsey and Georgia
plant quality assurance manager Mary
Wilkerson. Officials confirmed that the
Federal Bureau of Investigation was
brought in to provide additional resources
to a complex investigation.
An indictment is only an allegation,
and defendants are presumed innocent
until proven guilty beyond a reasonable
doubt. A trial date has not been set.
2012: Most Valuable U.S. Peanut Crop
According to USDA’s National Agricultural
Statistics Service, the price of
peanuts averaged 0.345 cents per pound
($690 ton) last season, almost 8.5 percent
higher than 2011. These average
prices appear to have included options
paid to farmers.
The value of the 2012 peanut crop at
farm level is $2,308,652,000, a 97.6
percent increase from 2011. The higher
prices were coupled with a 44 percent
increase in acreage.
The highest average price was paid
in New Mexico at $946 per ton, followed
by Texas at $816 per ton. The
lowest average price was paid in Florida
at .302 cents per pound or $604 per
ton followed by Virginia at $656 per
ton. About 49 percent of the revenue
from peanuts was produced in Georgia,
Alabama was second with 13 percent,
followed by Florida with 10.2 percent.
TPPB Announces New Varieties
Research and development has long
been a key focus of the Texas Peanut
Producers Board. Continued producer
funding of research has ultimately led to
the release of four new peanut varieties
since 2011: Tamrun OL11, Webb, Tamrun
OL12 and Schubert through Texas
The varieties are described as follows:
• Tamrun OL11, released in the summer
of 2011, is a runner-type peanut
with good resistance to Sclerotinia blight
and high grade potential. Tamrun OL11
is in the registered seed stage.
• Webb, named after former TPPB
executive director, Mary Webb, was released
in the summer of 2012. It is also
a runner-type peanut with resistance to
root-knot nematodes and moderate resistance
to Sclerotinia blight.
• Tamrun OL12, another runner-type
peanut, was also released in the summer
of 2012. This variety matures approximately
two weeks earlier than currently
grown runner varieties and should
be of benefit to the West Texas region,
which has a shorter growing season.
• Schubert, a Spanish-type peanut,
was released in the summer of 2012 and
was named after the late A.M. Schubert,
Ph.D., who served as a long-time
plant physiologist working with peanuts.
Schubert yields approximately 500
pounds per acre better and grades two
to three percentage points higher than
the currently grown OLin variety.
Webb, Tamrun OL12 and Schubert
are all in the breeding increase seed stage
NPB Approves Research Projects
At a recent quarterly meeting of National
Peanut Board, production research
projects submitted by the state producer
organizations and the University of
Arkansas and all 49 projects were unanimously
approved. The majority of projects
investigate the challenges of disease
control, pest management and drought
tolerance. The total allocation for FY-13
production research funding exceeds
Vic Jordan, NPB chairman and At-
Large delegate, says, “Our research efforts
are important to growers now and
in the future. All these projects help
make our crop more sustainable and efficient
by reducing the cost of production
and/or increasing yields.”
In addition, Howard Valentine, executive
director of The Peanut Foundation,
presented updates about genomics
research and the progress made toward
mapping the peanut genome. Last August,
the NPB allocated $400,000 toward
the Peanut Genome Initiative,
which is in addition to the production
research funded through state organizations
and research institutions.
“Helping the industry produce better
peanut varieties ultimately helps the producer
reduce input costs and reduce our
environmental footprint,” said Michael
Davis, research committee chair and
Funding production research to make
America’s peanut farmers more competitive
is a core part of the Board’s mission.
To date, NPB has funded more
than $18 million in production research.