• USDA urges producers to sign up for payment programs using eDCP Web site.
• Effective prices exceeds target price by one dollar, eliminating final counter-cyclical payment.
• Producers have until June 2010 to decide on ACRE program.
• Student researching peanuts and cardiovascular disease wins Carver Award.
• Cowart takes on new role with Birdsong Peanuts.
• Golden Peanut Co. announces new appointments.
• Peanut butter donations to food banks continue; bank week promotion in 33rd year.
• APC’s Peanut Butter For The Hungry program continues successful efforts.
• Producer, Billy Bain, selected as Virginia Farmer Of The Year by Sunbelt Ag Expo.
USDA Announces Payment Programs
Producers can now enroll in the 2010 Direct and Counter-cyclical Program (DCP) program through June 1, 2010. USDA urges producers to make use of the eDCP automated Web site to sign up, or producers can visit any USDA Service Center to complete contracts.
USDA computes direct and counter-cyclical payments using base acres and payment yields established for each farm. Eligible producers receive direct payments at rates established by statute regardless of market prices. The rate for peanuts is $36 per ton and will be available in November 2009.
For 2010, eligible producers may request to receive advanced direct payments based on 22 percent of the direct payment, which will be issued beginning Dec. 1, 2009.
Counter-cyclical payment rates vary depending on market prices. Counter-cyclical payments are issued only when the effective price for a commodity is below its target price. The effective price is the higher of the national average market price received during the 12-month marketing year for each covered commodity and the national average loan rate for a marketing assistance loan.
No CC Payment For 2008 Crop
The final 2008 counter-cyclical payment rate for peanuts is zero because the effective price exceeds the target price. The 2008 Farm Bill Act provides for an advance partial counter-cyclical payment in December 2008 and a final payment after the close of the marketing year. Advance partial 2008 CC payments were not paid on peanuts.
USDA reported that the National Average Farm Price for 2008 for peanuts was $460 per ton. Add the direct payment of $36 per ton and the effective price would be $496 per ton, one dollar higher than the minimum target price of $495 per ton. Therefore, no payment for 2008.
ACRE Program Still Available
The optional ACRE program provides a safety net based on state revenue losses and acts in place of the price-based safety net of counter-cyclical payments under the direct and counter-cyclical program.
A farm’s payment is based on a revenue guarantee calculated using a five-year average state yield and the most recent two-year national price for each eligible commodity. For the 2010 crop, the two-year price average will be based on the 2008 and 2009 crop years.
An ACRE payment is issued when both the state and the farm have incurred a revenue loss. The payment is based on 83.3 percent (85 percent in 2012) of the farm’s planted acres times the difference between the state ACRE guarantee and the state revenue times the ratio of the farm’s yield divided by the state expected yield.
The total number of planted acres for which a producer may receive ACRE payments may not exceed the total base on the farm. In exchange for participating in ACRE, in addition to not receiving counter-cyclical payments, a farm’s direct payment is reduced by 20 percent, and marketing assistance loan rates are reduced by 30 percent.
The decision to enroll in the ACRE program is irrevocable. The owner of the farm and all producers on the farm must agree to enroll in ACRE. Once enrolled, the farm shall be enrolled for that initial crop year and will remain in ACRE through the 2012 crop year. USDA will not accept any late-filed applications after June 1, 2010.
NCSU Student Wins Carver Award
Amanda Stephens, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutritional Sciences at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, is the winner of the 2009 Dr. George Washington Carver Award from the National Peanut Board. Stephens received $1,000 cash award at the American Peanut Research & Education Society Meeting.
Her research project focuses on demonstrating that peanuts, fat free peanut flour and peanut oil individually have several promising developments on cardiovascular disease. In addition to her compelling research activities, Stephens is also actively involved in her community, participating and leading academic clubs and competitions and volunteering as a soccer coach.
Cowart Moves To Birdsong
Birdsong Peanuts recently announced that Dr. Darlene Cowart would be joining the company to serve as Director of Food Safety.
Cowart has been involved in the peanut industry since 1991 and most recently was president of J. Leek and Associates (JLA).
Georgia Birdsong, CEO of Birdsong Peanuts, says, “Darlene’s combination of education, knowledge and experience is simply unique and will significantly enhance our ability to meet customers’ expectations in the rapidly changing world of food safety. We are delighted to have her on our team.”
Jim Leek also issued a statement thanking Cowart for being a vital part of JLA over the years and wishing her well in her new role.
Cowart received her master of science degree in horticulture and her doctorate in food science both from the University of Georgia.
More Peanut Butter For Food Banks
The Georgia peanut industry donated 28,224 jars of peanut butter to the Food Bank of Southwest Georgia in celebration of Hunger Action Month in September. Representatives from the Georgia Peanut Commission, National Peanut Buying Points Association, American Peanut Shellers Association and Georgia Farm Bureau, along with 14 other individuals, organizations and businesses donated enough peanut butter to make 350,000 sandwiches.
“Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein and an ideal item to have in our pantries because adults and kids alike can make a quick meal or snack out of it,” said Brett Kirkland, president of the Food Bank of Southwest Georgia. “Thanks to the peanut industry and the donors of this project, this large donation of peanut butter will help us and our 300 partner agencies continue to distribute high-quality, easy-to-prepare food to those in need of food assistance.”
The Food Bank of Southwest Georgia serves 20 counties throughout Southwest Georgia and partners with more than 300 agencies to serve approximately 30,000 people each year, including 10,000 children. In the 20-county service area, there are 100,000 people living in poverty and 200,000 people at risk of being food insecure at some point during the year.
The donated peanut butter was processed at Tara Foods, in Albany, using Georgia-grown peanuts. Donations are still being accepted for this program to help the Georgia Association of Food Banks, and a donation form is available online at www.gapeanuts.com and www.peanut-shellers.org.
New Appointments At Golden Peanut
Golden Peanut Company, LLC, recently announced the appointment of Matt Turner as Vice President of Manufacturing and of Fred Baine as Vice President of Sales.
Turner will lead all aspects of GPC’s plant production, operations and food safety programs. Since 2005, Turner served as Operations Leader for Cargill’s salt business and was responsible for 11 facilities engaged in processing and packaging. Turner has experience in the management of milling, oilseed and refinery operations for Cargill in the United States and Central and South America.
Turner earned degrees in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering from the University of Tennessee (UT) and Austin Peay and Masters Degrees in Chemical Engineering and Systems Management from UT and Murray State University.
Baine will work with the sales team to ensure long-term management continuity in customer and industry relationships. In his 28-year career with ADM, he has worked in the South and Midwest, with the primary focus of oil and oil-seed processing and merchandising. Most recently, he was Vice President of Supply Chain and Risk Management for Stratus Foods, in Memphis, Tenn.
Contributions To Economy Honored
The Georgia Peanut Commission in cooperation with the Georgia Bankers Association sponsors Georgia Peanut Bank Week annually to signify the close tie between producers, financial institutions and Georgia’s economic growth. Peanut producers contribute approximately $2 billion to the state and local economy each year.
“For 33 years we have held a special salute to farmers in cooperation with financial institutions,” says Armond Morris, GPC chairman. “This year more than 360 banks participated, and we distributed nearly 200,000 packs of Georgia peanuts and 75,000 recipe brochures.”
APC Offers Update On Hunger Program
It has been almost two years since the industry initiated the effort to support the development of Peanut-based Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food.
Much has happened since the industry first saw the “60 Minutes” video that showcased Doctors without Borders administering a Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food called Plumpy’nut to kids in Niger. The doctor interviewed described the project as a “revolution in nutrition affairs,”and, indeed, that has been happening in the world of international malnutrition relief ever since.
After viewing the video at the APC’s December meeting in 2007, just over $20,000 was raised from all segments of the industry (growers, shellers, allied and manufacturer), and as a result of this generosity, APC was able to leverage additional funds from USDA’s Emerging Markets program, securing more than $200,000 to pursue projects in Africa to supplement the work of Peanut Butter for the Hungry.
Activities have been undertaken to address the goals for the project and some of which are as follows:
• In partnership with Counterpart International, APC supported the development of a feasibility study to consider the development of a Plumpy’nut facility in Senegal (paid for by Citibank International). Research has also been conducted to determine where new production facilities might be best located and developed.
• APC technical consultants and industry experts have provided assistance and given advice to small start-up Plumpy’nut-type facilities in the U.S., Africa, Haiti and elsewhere.
• Four companies have peanut-based ready-to-use therapeutic food products currently under development in the United States.
• U.S. peanuts have been shipped to East Africa as part of a USDA testing program. After they arrive, a report will be developed to encourage additional shipments of U.S. peanuts.
• APC staff has visited dozens of non-governmental agencies and private voluntary organizations that deliver food assistance and told the story of peanut-based ready-to-use therapeutic foods. As a result, interest level for the products is high, and APC is considered a significant resource for the effort.
• APC has been asked to conduct presentations at several meetings in the past year to discuss the efficacy of ready-to-use therapeutic foods in treating severe malnutrition.
• APC was invited to two international conferences this year to discuss peanut products, the first in Nairobi with international buyers, and the second in Cape Town, South Africa with international School Feeding program managers.
• A trade mission/tour of West Africa is planned for early 2010 the goal of which is to consider the feasibility of developing production locally.
The APC says this is a truly unique effort by a food-producing industry and that the peanut industry can and should be proud of their efforts to assist needy people around the world, as well as in building secondary markets for U.S. peanut products.
The APC asks for continued support of Peanut Butter for the Hungry and says a small amount goes a long way.
Grower Road Tour Continues
The National Peanut Board continued its Grower Road Tour with stops in Los Angeles and Houston.
The two-day event in Los Angeles was held at the historic Santa Monica Pier. The Pier has an amusement park, aquarium, shops and restaurants. Visitors include locals as well as tourists from across the globe.
Mississippi producer and Board delegate Don Self and his wife Lisa, along with NPB staff spoke to thousands of consumers while offering samples of Sunland creamy to-go peanut butter packs with apples and other produce.
At the event, Chef Pepín, a celebrity in the Latin community, gave food demonstrations featuring a Peanut Butter Chocolate Dip with Apples, Peanut Butter and Banana Quesadillas and Blueberry Peanut Smoothies. He then autographed nearly 500 photos in just two hours, evidence of his popularity.
The Spanish-language television network Univision and LatiNation, a nationally syndicated television program, filmed the event at the pier and interviewed Chef Pepín. The Univision segment reached more than 200,000 Los Angeles viewers, and the LatiNation segment will air soon in more than 90 cities across the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The event in Santa Monica was followed by another two-day event at The Galleria, an upscale urban development in the Uptown district of Houston. NPB partnered with the Texas Peanut Producers Board for the event, which included a remote broadcast by Radio Disney and a partnership with Recipe for Success, a Houston-based nonprofit organization dedicated to combating childhood obesity.
Billy Bain Named 2009 Virginia Farmer Of The Year
Now in his 41st year as a farmer, Billy Bain of Dinwiddie, Va., and well known to the peanut industry, was selected as the 2009 Virginia winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award. Bain joined nine other state winners from the Southeast as finalists for the award.
Bain is a diversified producer who has earned a solid reputation for serving the agricultural industry of his state. He farms 3,200 acres in both Dinwiddie and Sussex counties. He currently has 1,100 acres of corn, 1,800 acres of soybeans, 300 acres of wheat and 55 acres of peanuts, with the balance being in hay. He also maintains a 60-head Angus beef herd and sells calves when they reach 500 to 600 pounds.
Early Adopter Of Strip Tillage
Bain was among the first Virginia peanut growers to use strip tillage.
“I started with eight rows one year, then expanded to one acre, and the year after that, I grew 600 acres of strip-tillage peanuts,” he recalls.
Finding forages and crops that respond well to dry weather is one of his goals. “Crops planted with strip tillage do better in dry weather,” he says. “Dry weather is our biggest challenge. We seem to miss most of the rains in this area. The 2006 crop year was a good one, but we’ve had droughts almost every year since then.”
Despite this, he maintains good yields on all his crops: 160 to 175 bushels per acre for irrigated corn; 100 to 130 bushels per acre for dryland corn; 80 bushels per acre for wheat; 30 to 45 bushels per acre for soybeans; 3,400 to 4,000 pounds per acre for peanuts and four to six tons per acre for hay and pasture forages. In the past, he grew irrigated cotton that yielded up to 1,400 pounds of lint per acre.
He has reduced peanut acreage in recent years in the wake of the peanut quota buyout, a policy Bain opposed in vain. By his count, he has testified before Congress seven or eight times during his farming career. He has served on advisory committees for political leaders of both the Democrat and Republican parties.
As he decreased peanut acreage, Bain started putting more emphasis on his beef and forage enterprises. He also produces and sells baled straw, but this business has suffered because of the downturn in the economy.
“We used to sell 15,000 to 18,000 bales of wheat straw, but this year I’m keeping most of the straw and its nutrients on my land,” he says.
“My grandfather was a farmer and a minister,” Bain says. “My father farmed, but he passed away in 1962 when I was in high school. After he died, we rented our farm out, and I joined the military. I have farmed on my own since 1968.”
His farmland contains both sandy coastal plain soils and clay piedmont soils, with an average field being only 25 to 30 acres.
“The biggest field I farm has 250 acres, and that field is irrigated with a center pivot,” Bain says. “I have four pivots that I use for irrigation.”
Of the 3,200 acres he farms, he only owns about 260 acres. “I’ve had opportunities to buy land, but I just felt over my farming career that I could rent land cheaper than I could own it.”
He employs six regular farm workers and hires a few more during hay harvesting season. “Most of these are long-term employees,” he says.
A Producer Who Gives Back
Bain has served on numerous boards, advisory councils and panels, including serving as president of the Peanut Growers Cooperative Marketing Association for three terms. He has also furnished farmland for variety plots of peanuts, corn and soybeans.
The Appomattox River Soil and Water Conservation District recognized Bain in 1999 and 2008 for his conservation efforts.
Mike Parrish, Dinwiddie County Extension agent, nominated Bain for the Farmer of the Year award.
“Billy is an advocate for agriculture and is willing to work with legislators for the benefit of the entire state,” says Parrish. “He actively promotes worker safety and pesticide safety, and his farm is indeed a showplace.
“He just gives back to the agricultural community. He goes the extra mile for agriculture.”
As the Virginia state winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo award, Bain received a $2,500 cash award and an expense paid trip to the Sunbelt Expo from Swisher International of Jacksonville, Fla., a jacket and a $200 gift certificate from the Williamson-Dickie Company and a $500 gift certificate from Southern States.
The overall winner receives $15,000, the use of a Massey Ferguson tractor for one year from Massey Ferguson North America, a custom-made Canvasback gun safe from Misty Morn Safe Co. and other prizes.
Swisher International, through its Swisher Sweets cigar brand, and the Sunbelt Expo are sponsoring the Southeastern Farmer of the Year Award for the 20th consecutive year.
High Risk Students Lose Weight With Peanuts As Healthy Snack
A landmark study, published in the medical journal Obesity, follows adolescents that are part of a school weight loss program and targets snacking, using peanuts as an acceptable healthy alternative. According to The Peanut Institute, this is the first long-term study to show extended weight loss in minority students with healthy snacking being a primary component.
“We focused heavily on modifying behavior by showing kids how to swap healthy snacks such as peanuts or peanut butter with fruits or vegetables for less healthy snacks,” says Dr. Craig Johnston, instructor at the Behavioral Research Center Baylor College of Medicine, who is overseeing the study being conducted at the USDA-ARS Children’s Nutrition Research Center in Houston.
The study is based on data from the “Family Lifestyle and Overweight” (FLOW) Prevention Program, a school-based program focusing on Mexican-American adolescents, ages 10 to 15.
The study shows that 80 percent of high-risk adolescents decreased or maintained weight, while almost 65 percent of the control group gained at one year. At two years, two-thirds continued to lose or kept weight off, which was the direct opposite to the two-thirds of the control group whom had gained.
Dr. John Foreyt, Director of the Behavioral Research Center at Baylor College of Medicine and principal investigator of the study, says, “Many of the children reported skipping meals, but ate high calorie, low nutrient snacks. Snacking has been the reported cause of increasing calorie intake over the past 30 years so we focused on making this snack healthy.”
The unique focus on snacking was a key intervention in this study as it targeted the most vulnerable times of day. Peanuts and peanut butter with fruits and vegetables were well accepted and were swapped out during class every day as a strategy to improve quality of calories, give a feeling of fullness and change from unhealthy eating habits.
In previous studies, peanuts have been shown to help people stay full longer than high carbohydrate snacks.
The Peanut Institute is a non-profit organization that supports nutrition research and develops programs to encourage healthy lifestyles. For information, go to www.peanut-institute.org.