• More risk, pressure to contain costs and improve productivity under market loan system.
• Revenue assurance program now open to eligible producers.
• Industry collects thousands for peanut butter for Haiti.
• UGA peanut team receives combine from Cheney family.
• Blakely, Ga., plans second Peanut Proud festival on March 27, 2010.
• See new products and services at Alabama-Florida trade show.
• New, more accurate test shows peanut allergy numbers may be inflated.
• See the calendar for spring events.
Trends Under Marketing Loan System
USDA recently completed a study of the marketing loan system since the 2002 Farm Bill.
In response to changing policies and market conditions, the 2002 Farm Bill eliminated the peanut quota program. Quota owners were paid 55 cents per pound of quota, costing the government $1.3 billion. Peanut producers joined producers of corn, cotton, rice and soybeans in a similar marketing loan program that provides a price guarantee of about 60 percent of what was available under the quota program.
The study showed that the number of peanut farms declined from 8,086 in 2002 to 5,134 in 2007, a 36.5 percent decline. The average size of peanut farms increased from 137 acres per farm to more than 227 acres per farm. The average operated acres per farm expanded to 1,525 acres, compared to 907 acres in 2002. By 2007, 65 percent of the peanut farms used marketing contracts, compared to 40 percent in 2002. The Southeast’s share of the national peanut acreage grew from about half before the buyout to nearly three-quarters.
The report showed that producers face lower prices, more risk and more pressure to contain costs and improve productivity. Peanut acreage has been volatile, but higher yields have boosted production. The domestic demand is stronger than before the buyout, and peanuts have become more competitive domestically and abroad.
Cheney Family Donates Combine
The family of Jimmy Cheney of Morgan, Ga., former member of the Georgia Peanut Commission, donated his two-row peanut combine to the University of Georgia Peanut Team based in Tifton. Team members said the combine is ideal for harvesting research plots.
Kelley Manufacturing Company reworked and redesigned the combine to fit researchers’ needs.
SURE Program Ready For Sign Up
USDA implemented a new Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments program (SURE) in accordance with the 2008 Farm Bill, beginning on Jan. 4, 2010. SURE provides crop disaster assistance payments to eligible producers on farms that have incurred crop production or crop quality losses.
The SURE program provides assistance in an amount equal to 60 percent of the difference between the SURE farm guarantee and total farm revenue. The farm guarantee is based on the amount of crop insurance coverage on the farm.
To be eligible for SURE, producers must have suffered at least a 10 percent production loss on a crop of economic significance.
For more information, please visit your Farm Service Agency office or go to www.fsa.usda.gov.
Industry Donates To Haiti
As is usual for the peanut industry, efforts were underway soon after the devastating earthquake in Haiti to send aid, in the form of peanut butter, to refugees.
The American Peanut Council reported that several organizations in the peanut industry joined in on efforts to ship a container or more of peanut butter to Haiti.
The APC has worked previously in Haiti, providing technical consultants and industry experts who assisted and advised small start-up type facilities in the manufacture of Plumpy’nut, the Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food, in the impoverished nation.
An offer to spearhead the earthquake relief aid process came from a non-profit organization in Blakely, Ga. Early County 2055 (a 501c3 non-profit) also donated $5,000 and Birdsong Peanuts matched that donation.
The organizations were working with Tara Foods to purchase the peanut butter and have it loaded on a container early the next week.
Donations for additional aid to the relief effort are still being taken. Send your tax-deductible donation to EC 2055 – PNB for Haiti, P.O. Box 725, Blakely, GA 39823. Make checks payable to: Early County 2055, and note on check “pnb for Haiti.”
GPC Elects Members
Three board members have been re-elected to three-year terms on the Georgia Peanut Commission Board of Directors with no opposition. Re-elected were Armond Morris, from Irwinville, District 2; Rodney Dawson, from Hawkinsville, District 4; Donald Chase, of Oglethorpe, District 5.
The Commission receives $2 per ton (about $2 million annually) in check-off funds to represent Georgia’s peanut farmers in research, education, promotion and legislation.
Another Peanut Proud Festival Planned
When Blakely, Ga., experienced negative publicity last year at the expense of the Peanut Corporation of America, the local community, supported by the peanut industry, hosted a “Peanut Proud” Festival to show their pride in the peanut and the economic impact of the peanut industry. Political and peanut industry leaders attended and more than 15 industry exhibitors displayed and distributed peanut products.
This year another “Peanut Proud” Festival and celebration is planned for Sat., March 27, 2010, on the Courthouse Square in Blakely.
Lea Jean Manry, chairperson of the Peanut Proud Committee says, “It is important that we keep showing that we are proud of peanuts. The first Peanut Proud event was well received by the media, and we want the industry to help do it again.”
For parade and exhibit information, contact Manry at 229-400-3339 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alabama-Florida Peanut Trade Show
Producers can fine-tune their farming operations with information gained at the Alabama-Florida Peanut Trade Show on Feb. 11, 2010, at the National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds in Dothan, Ala. The show is sponsored by the Alabama Peanut Producers Association and the Florida Peanut Producers Association.
During this year’s show, Kelley Manufacturing Company is providing the grand door prize of one season’s use of a new four or six-row peanut combine valued at $10,000. At the end of the season, the winner has the option of purchasing the combine from KMC after a reduction in the list price of $10,000. Amadas Industries is also providing a door prize of $10,000 towards the purchase of a peanut combine.
The one-day show offers farmers an opportunity to view products and services of more than 60 exhibitors. The show opens at 8:30 a.m. with door prize registration. Lunch will be held in the NPF Premium Building following the morning trade show. The associations will present a production educational program after the catered lunch. All peanut farmers in attendance have an opportunity to win more than $25,000 in door prizes.
Alabama growers who attend the production meeting segment will be eligible to receive CCA points.
For more information on the show, contact the APPA office at 334-792-6482 or the FPPA office at 850-526-2590.
Georgia Continues Food Bank Drive
The Georgia Peanut industry is “Peanut Proud & Feeding Georgia” through an initiative to help feed the 1.29 million persons in poverty in Georgia by donating product to food banks.
The Georgia Peanut Commission, National Peanut Buying Points Association, American Peanut Shellers Association and Georgia Farm Bureau have already committed more than $20,000 toward the purchase of peanut butter and delivered the jars to the Food Banks.
All peanut butter was processed by Tara Foods, which is located in Albany, Ga., and Georgia-grown peanuts were used. To contribute to the program, go to www.gapeanuts.com.
APC Key Voice For Industry
The American Peanut Council recently underwent a review of its mission, programs, purpose and vision for the future. The group took a fresh look at the APC’s Export function, research function and other activities to determine if it still reflected the needs of the council and industry. The group reaffirmed these core functions with a more streamlined and focused purpose going forward.
The group determined that the APC serves its members by supporting the general health and welfare of the peanut industry. The charge is: 1) To provide a forum for all industry segments to exchange and process information; 2) To provide leadership in Issues Management; 3) To serve as “The Voice” for the industry; 4) To promote the consumption of U.S. peanuts internationally; and 5) To fund, monitor and prioritize selected research that affects the peanut industry.
In 2010, the Board will determine how to best accomplish these goals.
In other APC news, newly elected officers for 2010 are as follows: Chairman: Bob Parker, Golden Peanut Company (Sheller); Chairman Elect: Tyron Spearman, National Peanut Buying Points Association (Allied); Secretary-Treasurer, Armond Morris, Georgia Peanut Commission (Grower); Immediate Past Chairman: Bill Brown, The J. M. Smucker Company (Manufacturer). The Council meets March 10-13, 2010 at the Washington Marriott Hotel in Washington, D.C.
USDA Says Marketing Boards Important
USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Associate Administrator David Shipman recently addressed the National Peanut Board at their Annual Meeting and Luncheon. More than 100 industry members attended the event.
During his address, Shipman acknowledged the tough year that the peanut industry faced due to the January 2009 salmonella crisis and how the industry’s collaborative efforts facilitated market recovery.
Based on the presentation of NPB’s Year in Review video preceding his address, Shipman said that he was impressed with the Board’s work on behalf of America’s peanut farmers.
“Your new promotional campaign – Peanuts: Energy for the Good Life – is an excellent example of how you can work with companies and organizations to increase awareness and consumption of peanuts,” he said.
He also referenced the positive implications of the 89 percent passage of NPB’s recent referendum.
Additionally, Shipman outlined the new administration’s emphasis on diversity within commodity organizations.
“We need to expand our nomination process to include women, minorities, young and old individuals and persons with disabilities,” he said. “We should reflect geographic diversity and represent small, medium and large operations and different production methods.”
Shipman highlighted some of the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture’s priorities for the department including helping rural communities become self-sustaining, ensuring America leads the world in sustainable crop production and biotech crop exports and guaranteeing all Americans access to nutritious, safe and sufficient food.
Allergy Numbers May Be Inflated
European researchers have developed a blood test that is much more accurate than current blood tests for diagnosing peanut allergy. The new test is able to detect only the antibodies to very specific peanut proteins that trigger allergic reactions and has led researchers to believe peanut allergies have probably been overestimated.
Most immunologists consider food challenges (testing the child with small amounts of the potentially allergic food) as the gold standard in diagnosing food allergies. However, a challenge is time-consuming, expensive and risky. So in most cases a blood test or skin prick is the only test performed to determine an allergy.
The findings were published recently in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, and, according to the article, current blood tests are much less accurate and create a large number of false positives.
To determine the amount of false positives, the researchers at the University of Manchester tested 1,000 peanut allergic children with the new blood test and completed food challenges. In the end, 80 percent of the children actually tested negative for peanut allergy.
Lead researcher Adan Custovic said, “The new diagnostic test that accurately discriminates peanut allergy from tolerance will mean we can target avoidance to those patients really at risk, and remove the considerable stress that comes from the many false positive sensitivity tests.”