•Peanuts on airlines again the subject of possible ban.
•APC personnel appointed to USDA emerging markets committee.
•Two precision ag meetings scheduled in Alabama.
•APC needs accurate donation account, can use donation facts to leverage additional funds.
•Government purchases up 24 percent for eight-month period.
•USDA study shows economical importance of export programs.
•NPB-sponsored study shows consumers equate peanuts with lasting energy; peanut butter in 90 percent of homes.
•NPB wins prestigious award for response to salmonella event.
New Effort To Ban Peanuts On Airlines
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is asking for comments from flying consumers on whether they would prefer to keep the current practices concerning the serving of peanuts on flights, which is currently at the discretion of the carrier, or have the DOT regulate what airlines serve and air passengers can bring on board.
The DOT has offered three options as follows:
1) to ban the serving of peanuts and all peanut products by both U.S. and foreign carriers on flights covered by the DOT’s disability rule;
2) to ban the serving of peanuts and all peanut products on all such flights where a passenger with a peanut allergy is on board and has requested a peanut-free flight in advance;
(3) to require a peanut-free buffer zone in the immediate area of a passenger with a medically documented severe allergy to peanuts if the passenger has requested a peanut-free flight in advance.
Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., D-Ga., said, “I am shocked and concerned about the excessive regulations proposed by the Department of Transportation regarding peanuts on airplanes. Given Congress’ response in the past, I am surprised that the Department of Transportation is trying this again.”
He went on to say that he looks forward to working with his colleagues to end another example of extreme government regulation.
Government Purchases Up Significantly
The American Peanut Council reports that government purchases of peanut products are up significantly.
The USDA’s request for nearly 15 million pounds of peanut butter over a four-month period is one of the largest requests ever by the agency. For the eight-month period August 2009 to March 2010, government purchases of peanuts and peanut butter were 31.8 million pounds, up 23.7 percent from the same time period the previous year.
For the month of March 2010, the most recent data available, government purchases were up 70 percent from the same time period one year earlier.
APC Work Leads To USDA Appointment
In April of 2010, Stephanie Grunenfelder, vice president for international marketing, was appointed to serve a two-year term as a member of the Advisory Committee on Emerging Markets of the Department of Agriculture.
The Advisory Committee is mandated by the Food Agriculture, Conservation and Trade Act of 1990 as amended. It consists of representatives from a cross-section of U.S. agriculture who are to provide information and advice to help USDA in carrying out the Emerging Markets Program (EMP).
EMP is a market-access program that provides funding for technical assistance and activities intended to promote exports of U.S. agricultural products in developing market economies.
Wiregrass Prec. Ag Meetings Scheduled
The Alabama Cooperative Extension System’s Precision Agriculture Program will hold two Precision Ag update meetings on July 6, 2010.
The first meeting will be from 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. (lunch provided) at the Wiregrass Research And Extension Center in Headland, Ala. The second meeting will be in New Brockton, Ala., at the Coffee County Farm Center from 6:00 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. (dinner provided).
Topics will include automatic section control, yield monitoring, RTK networks, CORS and economic considerations for precision ag technologies.
Registration is not required, but would be appreciated. For information or to RSVP, call Amy Winstead at 256-353-8702 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Web address is www.AlabamaPrecisionAgOnline.com.
Industry Donations Can Leverage Funds
The APC has been keeping track of industry contributions to the export effort for years. However, recently the peanut industry has been incredibly generous with contributions of both peanut products and time to assist with hunger relief and disaster assistance. If your company donated products or time, the APC would like to know because these industry contributions can be used to secure additional funding.
In 2009, using these industry contributions, APC was able to leverage more than $300,000 from the emerging markets program, allowing further work on the Plumpy’nut projects.
For more information or to receive the contribution form, call Stephanie Grunenfelder at 703-838-9500.
USDA Study Shows Program Pay Off
An independent study by IHS Global Insight, Inc., and sponsored by USDA’s Foreign Ag Service, found that the USDA’s international market development programs have had a positive and significant impact on U.S. agricultural trade.
The study evaluated the effects of the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development Program (FMD) administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and also showed growing private sector involvement.
The APC, which has been a partner with USDA on export promotion since 1978, manages these programs on behalf of the U.S. peanut industry and received $3.3 million dollars in the current fiscal year to promote exports in Canada, Europe, Mexico and Japan. The APC Export Division Board of Directors, composed of growers and shellers, oversees the management of these funds.
“Each $1 billion in exports supports 8,000 to 9,000 jobs at home,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This study shows that USDA’s market development partnership with industry has had a significant positive impact on U.S. agricultural exports and increased returns to our farmers and ranchers by effectively and efficiently leveraging resources from the private and public sectors.”
The report focuses on the period from 2002 through 2009, when combined federal and private sector funding of market development rose to more than $570 million annually. It concludes the increase in market development spending during those seven years increased U.S. export market share by 1.3 percentage points and the annual value of U.S. agricultural exports by $6.1 billion.
In its FY 2011 budget proposal, the Obama administration reduced funding for MAP $40 million but added $35 million to the FMD program, now part of the newly created National Export Initiative.
Other highlights of the FAS-sponsored study include:
• For every additional $1 expended by government and industry on market development, U.S. food and agricultural exports increased by $35;
• Without the increased investment in market development since 2002, U.S. agricultural exports would have been $6.1 billion lower in 2009;
• Export gains associated with the programs increased the average annual level of U.S. farm cash receipts by $4.4 billion and net cash farm income by $1.5 billion. At the same time, U.S. domestic support payments were reduced by roughly $54 million annually due to higher prices from increased demand abroad, thus reducing the net cost of the programs.
The full study report is available online at www.fas.usda.gov/info/releases/Market%20Development%20Eval-2010.pdf.
Consumers Say Peanuts, Peanut Butter Provide Lasting Energy
American consumers agree that not only does a PB&J taste great, the classic American staple also ranks as the number one sandwich for providing lasting energy, according to the National Peanut Board’s (NPB) latest Consumer Attitudes Tracking Study, an independent national survey.
It’s also clear from the study that Americans don’t like to be without this favorite food as 90 percent of all respondents reported having at least one jar of peanut butter in their household.
“With more attention rightfully paid to America’s food choices, we are fortunate to grow and promote one of the few foods the nation agrees tastes great and is a powerhouse of energy and nutrients,” says Jeffrey Pope, Virginia peanut farmer and NPB chairman.
PB In 90 Percent Of Homes
The data also show that American consumers are beginning to translate the health messages they hear each day into lifestyle changes. A record 30 percent of consumers indicate they consider their eating habits to be very healthy. This is the highest score that the tracking study has recorded since 2001 and strongly supports the NPB focus on nutrition messaging.
“We are encouraged that the data clearly supports our branding strategy of “Peanuts: Energy for the Good Life” and our focus on educating consumers on the nutritional benefits of USA-grown peanuts and peanut butter,” says Raffaela Marie Fenn, president and managing director of NPB.
Promote Benefits Of ‘Good’ Fat
While consumers indicate they are shifting to healthy diets, there was an increase in the percentage of respondents who claim to be avoiding all fats. This reinforces the need to fill the pipeline with positive nutrition messages highlighting the unique nutrient package of peanuts and peanut products, which includes “good” monounsaturated fats that have been linked to heart health. NPB has committed to working alongside healthcare professionals to make the message clear that fat is not the enemy.
Survey results show marketing efforts have positively impacted share of mind in 2009 with 48 percent more of the respondents considering peanuts as an option for a meal or snack than in 2006. Further, 52 percent of respondents reported they recently learned something new about eating peanut butter that made them consider peanut butter more often.
“Peanuts and peanut butter are more than a tasty snack; it provides a prime combination of protein and power-releasing nutrients like niacin and folate to fuel thoughts and actions,” says Bonnie Johnson, NPB registered dietician.
For more information, visit www.nationalpeanutboard.org.
NPB Response Wins Prestigious Award
The National Peanut Board received the Public Relations Society of America’s (PRSA) prestigious Silver Anvil Award for its work in quickly and effectively responding to last year’s salmonella recall by educating consumers and the media and restoring trust in USA-grown peanuts and peanut products.
NPB’s entry, “Driving a Resumption of Consumption of All Things Peanut,” garnered the top prize in the Crisis Communications (associations/nonprofit organizations) category. NPB, its public relations agency GolinHarris and advertising/marketing agency Lawler Ballard Van Durand received the award in New York City recently.
“The real heroes of this honor are our courageous farmer board members and their families,” said Raffaela Marie Fenn, NPB president and managing director. “They stepped up to take on this issue surrounding the largest food recall in U.S. history and ultimately helped rebuild trust with consumers and gatekeepers.”
The Silver Anvil, symbolizing the forging of public opinion, is awarded annually to organizations that have successfully addressed a contemporary issue with exemplary professional skill, creativity and resourcefulness.
The award recognizes complete public relations programs incorporating measurable and sound research, planning, execution and evaluation. Out of 830 entries only 135 were selected as finalists. NPB was a finalist in three of the categories.
NPB, GolinHarris and Lawler Ballard Van Durand also received two Awards of Excellence for “National Peanut Board Responds to Recall of More Than 3,000 Products” in the Issues Management (associations/nonprofit organizations) category and “Grand Central Becomes ‘Peanut Central’ During NYC Two-Day Special Event” in the Event and Observances (associations/nonprofit organizations) category.