Planting Deadline Change Requested
At a meeting in Tifton, Ga., on Aug. 27, 2010, William Murphy, Risk Management Association (RMA) administrator, told Southeastern peanut producers that the goal of RMA is to make sure the crop insurance programs are available to producers, that the administration and operations are lined up with actual costs and that the integrity of the program should be maintained.
A new standard reinsurance agreement has been renegotiated between all crop insurance companies and USDA, saving about $6 billion over the next 10 years.
Michael Moore, director of RMA’s Valdosta Regional office, said a request by the Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) to extend the planting date for peanuts was being recommended, but was not final. The climate data evidence and information from peanut specialists was enough to extend the final planting date for insurance coverage from May 31 to June 5 in much of the Southeast. The GPC had requested June 10.
The Valdosta Regional office also recommended a change to the late planting period for peanuts. In South Carolina and in a few counties in Alabama and Georgia that will continue to have a May 25 or May 31 final planting date for full coverage, the late planting period will be 15 days.
For those counties with the new June 5 final planting date, the late planting period will be 10 days. During the late planting period, the insurance coverage is reduced one percent per day for each day that planting occurs after the final planting date.
Counter-Cyclical Payment Issued
The Secretary of Agriculture announced that the final counter-cyclical payment (CCP) for 2009 peanut crop is $25 per ton or $0.0125 per pound. Producers with base acres, who accepted a partial payment in March 2010 and received $9.20 per ton or $0.0046 per pound, are due an additional $15.80 per ton or $0.0079 per pound. The final price for 2009-crop peanuts is $434 per ton or $0.217 per pound.
Participants in either the direct payment or ACRE had the option of receiving a 22 percent advanced direct payment when the farm was enrolled or delaying the direct payment until after the end of the fiscal year. ACRE revenue payments are scheduled to be made at a later time. The direct payment on peanuts is $36 per ton.
Since the effective price for wheat, barley, oats, corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, dry peas and lentils exceeds the target price, as required by statute, the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) will not issue any 2009 CCP payments for these crops.
No Disaster Assistance For Peanuts
Senate Ag Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) withdrew her 2009 Disaster Bill when the Obama Administration promised funds from existing USDA programs. The bill was critical for Lincoln’s re-election, as nearly 90 percent of producers in Arkansas would qualify after a disastrous 2009. USDA announced a $630 million fund, far below the $1.5 billion promised.
Another surprise was that peanut producers were not included, although many counties had been declared disaster areas. The summary lists rice, soybeans, cotton and sweet potatoes, but not peanuts or other commodities grown in the Southeast.
“Our growers do not understand how some commodities grown in the same disaster-declared county as others are excluded,” Armond Morris, GPC chairman, says. “If you exclude specific commodities for whatever reason, those growers are economically impacted, too.”
Carl Sanders, Alabama Peanut Producers Association, said, “Our congressional delegation is trying to assist us, but common sense should have preceded this decision, and the administration should have included peanuts in the disaster program.”
Congressman Bobby Bright (D-Ala.) has asked the USDA to reconsider its proposal that excludes peanuts and other commodities affected by late 2009 flooding. Other Congressmen signing the letter were John Barrow, Sanford Bishop, Jim Marshall and David Scott of Georgia and Allen Boyd of Florida.
Their letter concluded, “We request that you include peanuts in the promulgation of the Crop Assistance Program’s finalized regulation and that you do so at a fair, per-acre rate determined in the same manner the other eligible commodity rates were determined. Excluding peanuts from this assistance is unacceptable, and we hope you will honor this request.”
Champion Peanut Promoter Retires
Betsy Owens, who has worked as executive director of the Virginia Carolinas Peanut Promotions (VCPP) since 1974, retired at the end of September.
During her 36-year tenure, Owens developed and managed programs directed toward peanut and peanut product market growth and expansion. Under her leadership, the work has grown from strictly local promotions to national award-winning programs and even international activities.
Among the national awards conveyed upon Owens and VCPP’s programs were the Produce Business Marketing Excellence Award for a 2008 grocery store promotion and, in 2006, an Award of Excellence from Study Sphere (an Internet educational resource for teachers, students and parents) for VCCP’s Web site, plus a Superior Award from the Agricultural Communicators in Education for North Carolina’s 4-H manual, “Peanuts, Nutrition in a Nutshell.”
Owens has routinely developed recipe booklets, sales and marketing pamphlets, direct mail pieces and point of sales materials used to foster peanut sales.
Responding to industry needs, Owens has worked cooperatively on market promotion activities with the other state peanut grower associations, the National Peanut Board and the American Peanut Council. She has also served on the APC Board of Directors.
Owens was honored as North Carolina’s Home Economist of the Year in 1992 and Business Professional of the Year in 1999. Honors from her alma mater, East Carolina University, include recognition as Outstanding Alumna by the School of Home Economics in 1988 and being named a Centennial Legacy Leader by the College of Human Ecology in 2009.
Owens leaves VCPP to join her husband, Jack Lawrence, at America’s Best Nut Company, their Rocky Mount-based gourmet peanut business – still promoting Virginia-area grown peanuts.
Peerless Expands Business
Bill Dykes, president of Peerless Manufacturing Co., Shellman, Ga., recently announced that Peerless Manufacturing received a rural development loan allowing the company to consolidate existing loans under a new entity, Rockwell, Inc.
The loan also provides working capital that will allow Peerless to increase its work force from 33 to 52 employees. Its participating bank is First State Bank of Randolph County.
Under this program, Peerless has partnered with Southern Ag Carriers, Inc., an Albany trucking company, to produce a new 45-foot drying box atop a refurbished shipping container chassis. This trailer incorporates a more efficient peanut drying system with safer on-road transportation.
Another new product is the PeerStat, an automatic device added to the peanut trailer and dryer to create an “energy saving” package. This new controller is used to direct the dryer to properly dry the peanuts, taking into consideration ambient conditions and desired temperature ranges.
NPB Members And Alternates Announced
U.S. Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, recently announced new appointments to the National Peanut Board (NPB) from New Mexico and Oklahoma. The new appointees will serve three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2011.
For New Mexico, Laura Robbins, of Portales, will serve as board member. Robbins, along with her husband Richard, is co-owner and operator of R & L Farm Service, Inc. She has been involved in peanut production for almost 30 years. The Robbins have three children and three grandchildren. They farm peas, alfalfa, wheat, cotton, chili peppers and corn in addition to Valencia peanuts.
Wayne Baker, also of Portales, has been appointed as alternate board member. Baker is the owner of Wayne Baker Farms and has been in peanut production for 40 years. The Baker’s have four children, and he currently serves as president of the New Mexico Peanut Growers Association. In addition to Valencia peanuts, Baker farms corn.
For Oklahoma, Gayle White, of Frederick, will serve as board member. She is the owner/operator of White Farm and Ranch with her husband Joe D., chairman of the Oklahoma Peanut Commission. She has been in peanut production for almost 25 years. Their three children are also involved in agriculture.
Leslie “Les” Crall, of Weatherford, will serve as alternate board member. Crall has been in peanut farming for almost 15 years and currently serves as vice chair of the Oklahoma Peanut Commission. His wife Sherry is the Weatherford Municipal Judge, and he is the associate dean for the School of Business And Technology at Southwestern Oklahoma State University, where he teaches business law and accounting. Crall’s primary farming enterprises are growing peanuts, wheat, grain sorghum, hay, and he also maintains a cow/calf herd.
USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service provides oversight and monitors the operations of the National Peanut Board in accordance with the Commodity Promotion Research and Information Act of 1996 and the Peanut Promotion, Research and Information Order.
Billboard Campaign From APPA
The Alabama Peanut Producers Association has launched a billboard campaign during the peanut harvest season promoting the health benefits of peanuts. The promotional billboards read: “Farmers are digging the peanuts. People are digging the protein.”
The signs were placed in two prominent peanut growing regions of the state – Dothan and Mobile – and are in high traffic areas. The project is funded by the National Peanut Board and coordinated by the APPA staff.
Randy Griggs, APPA executive director, says, “This is a great example of how growers can share their nutritious message to thousands of motorists on a daily basis, while they themselves are in high gear harvesting this year’s peanut crop.”
UGA Student Wins Carver Award
Dylan Wann, a graduate student in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at the University of Georgia in Athens, is the winner of the 2010 Dr. George Washington Carver Award from the National Peanut Board.
Wann was presented with his $1,000 award at the 2010 meeting of the American Peanut Research and Education Society in Clearwater, Fla., in July.
Wann’s research focuses on improving the sustainability of peanut production in the Southeast through cover crops and organics. He is also actively involved in community service, having spent a summer in Honduras as an agricultural intern providing education to local farmers and volunteering for several non-profit groups in Georgia.
“The National Peanut Board is honored to give this year’s Carver Award to a brilliant student such as Dylan,” said Michael Davis, Florida board member and chairman of the NPB research committee. “This kind of production research helps ensure the profitability of peanuts for growers and the long-term sustainability of peanut production for posterity.”
For having the winning student, UGA will also receive $1,000 from NPB.