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Autauga County farmer Harold Gaines recently stood with his sons Dan and Levi as he told leaders of the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee his priority for the 2018 farm bill.


“I want to be able to pass on this farm to the next generation and for them to be successful,” Gaines said as Sens. Luther Strange, R-Alabama, and Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, toured his farm.


Roberts chairs the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, and Strange is Alabama’s first senator on the committee since the late Howell Heflin 20 years ago.


“This family is a great example of what folks can do to pass along the wonderful history that we have in farm families,” Roberts said. “We’ve been holding hearings all over the country and asking farmers what’s working for the farm bill and what isn’t. We hope we can do a farm bill sooner rather than later so farmers can get some predictability and plan.”


“We appreciate Sen. Strange serving on the Senate Ag Committee and bringing Chairman Roberts to meet with Alabama farmers,” he said. “The South has a significant number of crops and farming practices that are different from Sen. Roberts’ home state. We could go to Washington and talk about those differences, but there’s nothing like hearing from our farmers and seeing things first hand.


Strange pledged to be the voice for Alabama farmers in the U.S. Senate.


“For them to see first hand — touch and feel — the concerns of our farmers is really critical,” Strange said. “Farmers have to be profitable so they can continue to thrive and reinvest and attract the next generation of farmers into this wonderful career.”


Roberts said his priorities for the 2018 farm bill include preserving crop insurance funding and enhancing international trade. But he admitted maintaining current spending levels will be a challenge.


“We’re going to be operating on a very strict and stringent budget,” Roberts said. “In this environment, we’ve just got to do more with less. Farmers are used to that.


“Most of all, farmers want stability and predictability,” he added.


Ironically, the vast majority of farm bill funding doesn’t go to farmers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 80 percent of current farm-bill spending is for food stamps and nutrition programs. Crop insurance accounts for 8 percent; conservation, 6 percent; and commodity programs, 5 percent. Altogether, the Agricultural Act of 2014 (farm bill) was projected to cost $489 billion over five years.


The 2018 farm bill, which could dictate agriculture policy for six years, will be Roberts’ seventh. He is the only member of Congress to serve as chairman and ranking member on both the House and Senate agriculture committees. He praised Strange’s interest and enthusiasm on the committee.


“He’s admired on the committee,” Roberts said. “He’s doing his homework, and he’s going to be a mighty fine champion for Alabama on the Ag Committee.”


FDA Approves Peanut Allergy Prevention Qualified Health Claim


The FDA has acknowledged an approved qualified health claim to support the consumption of peanut foods to reduce the risk of peanut allergies in infants. The new claim can now be used by manufacturers who market foods for infants that contain peanut protein. Here’s the full claim:


For most infants with severe eczema and/or egg allergy who are already eating solid foods, introducing foods containing ground peanuts between 4 and 10 months of age and continuing consumption may reduce the risk of developing peanut allergy by 5 years of age. FDA has determined, however, that the evidence supporting this claim is limited to one study.


If your infant has severe eczema and/or egg allergy, check with your infant’s healthcare provider before feeding foods containing ground peanuts.


Based on the Learning Early About Peanut Allergies (LEAP) study, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) released guidelines in January for clinicians and caregivers to encourage the introduction of peanut foods to prevent peanut allergies. According to the guidelines, introduction should vary based on risk with those at highest risk (those with severe eczema and/or egg allergy) starting peanut foods as early as 4-6 months after an evaluation by their pediatrician or allergist, all other infants can begin to eat peanut foods at around 6 months. However, there aren’t many peanut-containing foods in the U.S. that have been developed specifically for infants.


Because peanuts and thick peanut butter can be a choking hazard, those aren’t appropriate for feeding to babies and must be modified. Parents can make a safe mixture themselves by mixing two teaspoons of peanut butter or powdered peanut butter with two tablespoons or more of pureed fruit, yogurt (if they’re already eating this), formula or breastmilk, or prepared infant cereal. Some parents, however, may prefer a convenience item like the peanut puff parents feed infants in Israel. In addition, a high percentage of parents are anxious about early introduction of peanut foods. This new qualified health claim could help manufacturers create and market infant-specific products to help make introducing peanut foods to infants easier for parents.


For more on how to introduce peanut foods to infants, visit



Peanut Butter BBQ Ribs


Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Makes: 6 servings


8 cups water
1 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup salt
2 tbsp Chinese Five Spice
2 racks pork back ribs, about 2 lb each


1/4 cup ketchup
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Chinese hot sauce, such as Sriracha
Thinly Sliced green onion
Crushed unsalted peanuts


Brine: Combine water, vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, salt and Chinese five spice in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes or until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely.


Place the ribs in a re-sealable plastic bag and fill with the brine. Refrigerate, turning occasionally for 6 hours or overnight. Remove ribs from brine; discard excess brine.


Sauce: Whisk the ketchup with the soy sauce, peanut butter, rice vinegar, honey and hot sauce; set aside.


Preheat the oven to 325°F. Arrange the ribs on a baking sheet fitted with a cooking rack; cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour; remove foil. Bake, basting with the peanut sauce every 30 minutes, for 2 hours or until bones move easily within the meat. Cut into 3-bone portions and arrange on a serving platter. Sprinkle green onion and peanuts over the ribs.


Tip: Double the sauce recipe and save half to serve with the cooked ribs for dipping.


Peanut harvest season is just around the corner and now is the time for growers to check their peanuts to determine optimum maturity date. The Henry County Extension System will be offering pod blast tests each Tuesday and Friday during the months of September and October from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.  


Digging peanuts at the right times is one of the most important decisions growers can make. This one management tool can help make 300-500 pounds and add 3-5 points on the grade.


Growers interested in the pod blast test can bring their vines with peanuts to the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center, 167 State Highway 134 E., Headland, Ala. during the stated times. Appointments can also be made by calling the Henry County Extension Office at 334-585-6416.

Join APPA in purchasing peanut butter for survivors of Hurricane Harvey

In response to the thousands of families affected by Hurricane Harvey, the Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA) is encouraging the public to join them as they donate jars of peanut butter to the devastated areas in Texas. This humanitarian effort is being coordinated through Peanut Proud, a 501 (c) (3) charitable organization of the U.S. peanut industry.



Peanut butter is a valuable tool in disasters because it is nutritious, shelf stable and portable. It requires no refrigeration and appeals to all ages.


If you would like to contribute to our efforts, please click here

Donation levels include:

1 case  – 12 jars – $12

1/8 pallet  – 15 cases – $180

¼ pallet – 30 cases – $360

½ pallet – 60 cases – $720

1 pallet – 120 cases – $1,440

Rogers Testifies to U.S. Senate Ag Committee that Peanut Provisions in Farm Bill Work
Southern Peanut Farmers Federation Says Peanut Program Works and Must be Preserved


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Meredith McNair Rogers, a more than 20-year veteran farmer from Camilla, Georgia, testified today before the Senate Agriculture Committee that the peanut provisions included in the 2014 Farm Bill and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program work for farmers and consumers – and must be preserved in the next farm bill.


In her testimony, Rogers, who testified on behalf of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, said, “[Congress] provided a program that pushed our industry to market our products more efficiently in the domestic and export markets.” It is a common-sense and market-based solution offering farmers a price floor that promotes stability and access to lending amidst market uncertainty.


Rogers testified before the full Senate Agriculture Committee at today’s hearing, “Commodities, Credit, and Crop Insurance: Perspectives on Risk Management Tools and Trends for the 2018 Farm Bill,” on behalf of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation.

As Rogers stated in her testimony, The Federation supports maintaining the current PLC program in the 2014 Farm Bill including the following key provisions:


o Current Reference Price for Peanuts
o Separate Peanut Payment Limit (as established in the 2002 Farm Bill)
o Storage and Handling Provisions


Citing the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s projection that net farm income in the U.S. for 2017 will hit $62.3 billion – a 49.6 percent decline since 2013 – Rogers affirmed the value that the PLC program provides for farmers in her community. “If the PLC program had not been in place, I am afraid many farms in the Southeast would no longer exist.”


Rogers also noted that the downturn in the farm economy over the last three years comes at a time when demand for peanuts outpaces supply, as evident by early reports of contract prices for the 2017 crop that range from $475-$550/ton. “Shellers would not be offering these types of contracts unless signals from manufacturers and exporters clearly indicate that they need more peanuts for the marketplace,” Rogers said. “These actions are not being driven by the 2014 Farm bill but instead by the markets and the rules of supply and demand.”


“The bill continues to assure consumers a safe, affordable food supply,” Rogers stated. In addition, the system in place ensures stability in times of both prosperity and times of economic downturn, which enables farmers like Rogers to continue producing the peanuts that people around the world know and love.


For more information and a copy of the complete testimony provided by Rogers visit,

View Rogers Testimony.

U.S. Senate Ag Committee Hearing
Commodities, Credit, and Crop Insurance: Perspectives on Risk Management Tools and Trends for the 2018 Farm Bill


WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., announced witnesses for the Committee’s upcoming hearing on commodities, credit, and crop insurance.


Title: Commodities, Credit, and Crop Insurance: Perspectives on Risk Management Tools and Trends for the 2018 Farm Bill


Who: Panel I
Mr. Bruce Rohwer, Farmer, Rohwer Farms, Paullina, Iowa
Mr. Kevin Scott, Owner/Operator, Evergreen Stock Farm, Valley Springs, S.D.
Mr. David Schemm, Farmer, Arrow S Farms, Sharon Springs, Kan.
Mr. Nick McMichen, Owner/Operator, McMichen Farms, Centre, Ala.
Mrs. Jennifer James, Owner/Operator, H & J Land Company, Newport, Ark


Panel II
Mr. Dan Atkisson, Owner/Operator, Atkisson Land & Cattle, Stockton, Kan.
Ms. Meredith Rogers, Farmer, Family Farm Partners, Camilla, Ga.
Mr. Robert Rynning, Owner/Operator, Robert Rynning Farms, Kennedy, Minn.
Mr. Ervin Schlemmer, Owner/Operator, Schlemmer Farms, Joliet, Mont.
Mr. Ken Nobis, Owner/Operator, Nobis Dairy Farm, Novi, Mich.


Panel III
Mr. Mark Haney, President, Kentucky Farm Bureau Federation, Louisville, Ky.
Mr. Roger Johnson, President, National Farmers Union, Washington, D.C.
Ms. Lindsey Lusher Shute, Hearty Roots Community Farm and Co-Founder & Executive Director, National Young Farmers Coalition, Hudson, N.Y.
Mr. William Cole, Stone Corner Farms and Chairman, Crop Insurance Professionals Association, Batesville, Miss.
Mr. Ron Rutledge, President & CEO, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Iowa, West Des Moines, Iowa
Mrs. Mandy Minick, Washington State President, Northwest Farm Credit Services, Pasco, Wash.
Mrs. Brenda Kluesner, Loan Officer & Crop Insurance Manager, Royal Bank, Cassville, Wis.


Date: Tuesday, July 25, 2017
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Place: 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building


Click here to watch the live or archived hearing online.



Reps. Mike Rogers and Austin Scott talk Farm Bill during the 2017 Southern Peanut Growers Conference……


U.S. Representatives Mike Rogers (R-AL) and Austin Scott (R-GA) both shared their perspectives on the new administration, gridlock in Congress, and the outlook for a 2018 farm bill at the 2017 Southern Peanut Growers Conference that was held July 20-22 at SanDestin in Miramar, FL.


“It’s going to be a tough fight, I don’t want anybody to fool themselves,” said Rep. Rogers about getting the next farm bill passed in Congress. He says he would like to see the legislation – which is about 80 percent nutrition programs – split just for a vote to see who votes for or against. “Neither one of them will pass on their own, but it’ll show us who our friends are.”

Rep. Scott says his number one concern is to make sure “we don’t get splits between the commodity groups and within the commodity groups” with respect to farm programs. “I think one of the big debates in the farm bill will be planted acres versus base acres, I can tell you it’s coming,” he said. “The discussion of permanent law versus temporary law is another issue that we’re going to have some honest discussion about.”

Other topics the Congressmen addressed in their remarks and interview afterwards include infrastructure legislation, the recent farm bill listening session held in Florida, and more.

By: Cindy Zimmerman J