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Southern Peanut Farmers Federation launches

‘Peanut Program Works’ website and video 

DOTHAN, Ala. – The Southern Peanut Farmers Federation has launched a campaign website,, and video to showcase the benefits of the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program in the 2014 Farm Bill and highlight its importance to farmers, their families and communities. The website, through a series of farmer profiles, an informational video and fact points, demonstrates how so many peanut farmers rely on the stability brought to their market through the PLC program, which is known as the Peanut Program, and why it must be retained in the upcoming Farm Bill.


Caleb Bristow, executive director of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, said: “In the supply chain for peanuts, what’s good for farmers is good for consumers. Changing the Peanut Program would have detrimental consequences for not only family-run farms like mine and rural communities across the southeast, but it would threaten the availability of a healthy and nutritious energy source for billions of peanut lovers around the world.”


“The Peanut Program works,” said Armond Morris, chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission and member of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation. “It creates stability giving farmers the ability to secure loans, contract with shellers, buy from chemical and feed companies, and invest in farm capital equipment.”


The Peanut Program has given farmers like Michael Davis, a sixth-generation farmer from Graceville, Florida, the reassurance they need to continue farming. “The Peanut Program serves as an important backstop allowing us to plan for the long term. Without the Peanut Program, I believe that one-third of the farmers I know would go out of business, which would dramatically impact our communities.”


Through the website, SPFF aims to educate policymakers, farmers and the agriculture community about why the Peanut Program must be retained in the upcoming Farm Bill. The Peanut Program is a sound, market-based solution that offers farmers a necessary price floor to support continued stability and access to lending, regardless of what is happening in the larger market. The program also helps to meet the ever-increasing demand for peanuts both domestically and internationally. Peanuts have seen continued per capita consumption growth for years, jumping from 6.60 pounds per capita to 7.41 between 2012 and 2016.[I]



Peanut Program Works’ main message directly combats the attempts by the Florida Peanut Federation to drastically lower reference prices and destabilize a program that works for peanut farmers, their families and their surrounding communities.


            Don Koehler, executive director of the Georgia Peanut Commission and a member of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, said that the policy advocated by the FPF would benefit only a small number of their members at the expense of peanut farmers throughout the Southeast.


            “The fact is the Florida Peanut Federation would undermine the market-based Peanut Program that works for peanut farmers, our families and our communities by pushing to dramatically lower the reference price and championing a self-serving effort on behalf of a few farmers who want to arbitrarily declare peanut base – a move that would put farmers in our community out of business and wreak chaos in the marketplace,” Koehler said.


            “Peanuts aren’t publicly traded on the futures market so the price of peanuts isn’t set until well after the peanuts are planted, and we’ve sunk big money into our crop. In order to meet the growing global demand for peanuts, farmers need a system in place that provides stability over time. And fortunately, we have one,” said Mike Jordan, a Jackson County, Florida farmer. 


            The website, which was launched while the peanut industry was meeting at the 21st Annual USA Peanut Congress, urges and equips users to take initial steps towards understanding the Peanut Program and its sustained benefits, as well as the unreasoned claims made against it. Protect the Peanut Program that helps protect us—visit to learn more.


[i] Source: USDA Peanut Stocks and Processing report; excludes peanut oil

[i] Source: USDA Peanut Stocks and Processing report; excludes peanut oil


Southern Peanut Farmers Federation applauds U.S. House Ag Committee Listening Session

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (June 24, 2017) The Southern Peanut Farmers Federation today applauded U.S. House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway and the other members of the committee who held a listening session today about the 2018 Farm Bill.


Representatives attending from state associations included: * Caleb Bristow, Executive Director, Alabama Peanut Producers Association. * Don Koehler, Executive Director, Georgia Peanut Commission * Gerald Long, President, Georgia Farm Bureau * Will Ellis, Peanut Grower and owner of Jeff Davis Peanut Buying Point * Larry Ford, Peanut Grower * Ken Barton, Peanut Grower and Executive Director of the Florida Peanut Producers Association.


“I’m very appreciative to Chairman Conaway for taking the time to come to the peanut producing area to hear the views of peanut farmers,” said Caleb Bristow, executive director of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association. “The current Peanut Program is very important, not only to peanut farmers, but to our families and communities as well.”



Ken Barton, executive director of the Florida Peanut Producers Association, said the listening session was an ideal format for members of the Agriculture Committee to be in Florida and understand how the Peanut Program works to support farmers and communities. “I’m especially grateful to our Florida delegation, Congressmen Dunn and Yoho for hosting today’s event. While citrus is bigger than peanuts in Florida, our delegation understands how important the Peanut Program is to Florida’s economy. Today was a good opportunity to discuss how a fair reference price brings certainty to farming – both when demand is high, like it is currently, and during times of economic downturn.”


The Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, which was included in the 2014 Farm Bill, works for farmers and consumers. It is a common-sense and market-based solution offering farmers a price floor that promotes constancy and access to lending amidst market uncertainty. Since peanut reference prices are set by the Farm Bill and applied for a full five years, the system in place ensures stability in times of both prosperity and times of economic downturn. This underscores why a realistic reference price is paramount. The market-based Peanut Program serves as an important backstop to secure loans. Without the certainty the peanut program brings to peanut farmers, banks would not extend loans – putting many peanut farmers out of business.


Demand for peanuts is currently on the rise and exceeds supply as interest in the health benefits of peanuts continues to grow. Peanuts have seen continued per capita consumption growth for years, jumping from 6.60 pounds per capita to 7.41 between 2012 and 2016.* This means that market prices are expected to increase and Peanut Program support to farmers, and cost to the government, will be minimal.


Pictured is Caleb Bristow, executive director of Alabama Peanut Producers Association testified today during the U.S. House Agriculture Committee’s Listening Session on the 2018 Farm Bill at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Peanut farmers support revision of Seg. 1 peanuts by Peanut Standards Board


Alabama peanut growers are in full support of the proposed rule issued on May 25, 2017, in the Federal Register regarding a recommendation from the Peanut Standards Board to revise the minimum quality and handling standards for domestic and imported peanuts marketed in the United States. This action would relax the allowance for damaged kernels in farmers stock peanuts when determining segregation.  The Peanut Standards Board voted in the fall of 2016 to raise the maximum damage level for SEG 1 peanuts from from 2.49 percent to 3.49 percent. The Alabama Peanut Producers Association encourages the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow this change to become effective for the 2017 crop.


U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-Ala.) offered her support to the revisions. “I applaud the USDA’s commonsense proposal. As co-chair of the Congressional Peanut Caucus, I have worked alongside my colleagues to get these standards updated to reflect modern advances in technology. This change will benefit hardworking peanut producers in Alabama and throughout the country.”


The Peanut Standards Board recommended this change to align the incoming standards with recent changes to the outgoing quality standards and to help increase returns to peanut producers.


“This proposed change in the grading standards will reduce the SEG 2 peanuts at the farmer level. This will affect a very small number of peanuts in any given year, and will help the farmers when they need help the most,” said Carl Sanders, president of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association


Alabama Peanut Producers Association encourages all peanut farmers to comment on the proposed rule which is available online at All comments must be submitted to the Office of the Docket Clerk by June 26, 2017. Comments must be sent to the Docket Clerk, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Specialty Crops Program, AMS, USDA, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., STOP 0237, Washington, DC 20250-0237; Fax: (202) 720-8938; or Internet: All comments should reference the document number (AMS-SC-16-0102; SC16-996-3 PR) and the date (May 25, 2017) and page number (24082) of this issue of the Federal Register. The Peanut Standards Board, authorized under the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, consists of 18 members representing the peanut growing regions of the U.S. The United States Department of Agriculture consults with the board to establish or change quality and handling standards for domestically produced and imported peanuts. The recommendation from the Peanut Standards Board will now be taken under consideration by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


The Peanut Standards Board, authorized under the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, consists of 18 members representing the peanut growing regions of the U.S. The United States Department of Agriculture consults with the board to establish or change quality and handling standards for domestically produced and imported peanuts.

The recommendation from the Peanut Standards Board will now be taken under consideration by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Study points to flexibility in peanut seeding rates

By Austin Hagan

Seed accounts for up to 20 percent of the total variable production cost for peanut

Research suggests that peanut producers could have some flexibility in seeding rates, thereby reducing their overall costs.

producers, especially for larger-seeded cultivars such as Georgia-06. One option for saving money is to reduce seeding rates, but can this be done without negatively impacting yields?


In trials conducted at the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center in 2014, 2015 and 2016, researchers looked at the impact of seeding rates of three, four, six, and eight seeds per row foot as influenced by planting date on the incidence of tomato spotted wilt virus, or TSW, and white mold, leaf spot defoliation and yield of commercial peanut varieties Georgia-06G, Georgia-09B, and Georgia-12Y in a dryland production system.


Planting date had the greatest impact on peanut yield. In two of the three study years, yields were greater in peanuts planted in mid-April (first date of planting) than those planted in mid-May (second date of planting), regardless of the variety.


Georgia-06G, Georgia-09B and Georgia-12Y had similar yields, except in the latter variety in 2016, when a sharp yield decline was noted at the second date of planting. No yield gains were seen by increasing seeding rates. The lack of a variety and seeding rate interaction showed that the absence of a seeding rate response was consistent across all varieties.


In a previous Alabama study, seeding rate had a limited impact on the yield of commercial peanut varieties in an irrigated production system. Year (i.e., rainfall) had a sizable impact on yield. With good rainfall through much of September, yields averaged 5,660 pounds per acre in 2016, as compared with drier late-summer and early-fall weather patterns in 2014 and 2015, when the mean yield was 2,454 pounds per acre and 3,217, respectively.


Despite low pressure for tomato spotted wilt, leaf spot and white mold, planting date, variety and seeding rate alone or in combination significantly impacted disease activity. While TSW incidence was often similar across planting dates and varieties, in 2016, greater disease was seen in the April-planted Georgia-09B than in the May planting.


Previously, incidence of this disease was also greater in April- than May-planted peanuts. Elevated TSW levels recorded at the lowest seeding rate is also consistent with the results of previous studies. Leaf spot defoliation—which was greater in two of three years in the May- versus April-planted Georgia-06G, Georgia-09B and Georgia-12Y—also intensified slightly but significantly with increasing seeding rates in the May- but not the April-planted peanuts.


When noticeable white mold development was seen in 2015, disease incidence was greater in April-planted Georgia-06G, Georgia-09B, and to a lesser extent, Georgia-12Y varieties than in the May peanuts. Otherwise, white mold damage, regardless of planting date, was low in 2014 and 2016. Overall, white mold incidence was lower in Georgia-12Y than the other two varieties.


Results of this and a previous Alabama study suggest that growers have some flexibility with seeding rates in dryland and irrigated production settings. Even under drier conditions in 2014 and 2015, yield was similar across all seeding rates for all three peanut varieties. None of the varieties screened showed a significant yield advantage, despite differences in disease damage.


The full report can be found here.


The funding for this project is made possible by checkoff dollars from the Alabama Peanut Producers Association and the National Peanut Board.


Austin Hagan is a professor in the College of Agriculture’s Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology and a plant pathologist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.



Banks School recently hosted Kindergarten Day for students in the Pike County, Ala. School system. A variety of agriculture booths were visited by 150 students who participated in the event. The Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA) hosted the Peanut Patch display where students learned how peanuts grow and the numerous products made from peanuts. Pictured is APPA board member Billy Hixon who is also peanut grower in the Banks, Ala. area explaining how peanuts grow.

Alabama peanut growers approve referendum

Alabama peanut growers approve referendum

Peanut producers in Alabama voted on April 27, 2017 to approve the continuation of a statewide peanut check-off program with a 99 percent favorable vote for support.


Under state law, the check-off program must be voted on every three years.


Twenty-eight polling sites were located in twenty-three counties where peanuts are produced. The Alabama Peanut Producers Association administers the check-off program.


Alabama is the second largest producer of peanuts in the United States. APPA President, Carl Sanders, said the board appreciates the strong showing of support.


“I know the board of directors shares my appreciation,” he said.


“The check-off program funds many research and educational activities that would not exist if not for the program. These programs directly impact our industry on an annual basis.”


APPA referendum April 27th

APPA referendum April 27th

The Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Inc., has been certified by the Alabama Board of Agriculture and Industries as the authorized association to conduct a referendum among the peanut producers in the State of Alabama to determine whether or not an assessment at the rate of twelve and one-half cents ($.125) per one hundred pounds shall be collected on all peanuts marketed in Alabama.
The referendum will be held on April 27, 2017, during established office hours between 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
All persons engaged in the production of peanuts for the years 2014, 2015 and 2016 will be eligible to vote.
To obtain a list of the 2017 polling places, growers can contact the Alabama Peanut Producers Association office (334-792-6482), or any APPA Board member. In the event the referendum is carried by a majority of those voting, the assessment will be collected upon an order of the Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries.
The proceeds from the funds derived from the assessment will be administered by the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Inc.
These funds will be used for the purpose of financing or contributing toward the financing of programs in research, education, promotion and other methods designed to increase the consumption of peanuts and peanut products, as well as the general well-being of the peanut producers.

McMillan testifies during U.S. House Ag Committee hearing on farm bill

McMillan testifies during U.S. House Ag Committee hearing on farm bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Tim McMillan, farmer from Enigma, Georgia, testified April 4, 2017 in support of maintaining the peanut provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill and the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program in the next farm bill. In his testimony, McMillan says, “If the PLC program had not been in place, I am afraid many farms in the Southeast would no longer exist because of the downturn in the farm economy which has plagued us the past three years.” McMillan testified on behalf of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation today at the hearing titled, “The Next Farm Bill: Commodity Policy Part II” before the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management.


The Southern Peanut Farmers Federation’s member organizations produce approximately 80 percent of the U.S. peanut crop. The Federation members include Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Florida Peanut Producers Association, Georgia Peanut Commission and Mississippi Peanut Growers Association.


According to McMillan, the Federation supports maintaining the current PLC program in the 2014 Farm Bill including the current reference price for peanuts, a separate peanut payment limit and storage and handling provisions.


According to McMillan’s testimony, the 2014 Farm Bill was drafted during a period of high prices on the farm. “When we compare average prices in 2011-12 to 2016 prices, we see a 30 percent decline in peanut prices,” he says. “I see the real impact of these numbers in the faces of my neighbors and hear it in discussions with lenders and our suppliers.”


The U.S. Department of Agriculture projected 2017 net farm income in the U.S. to be $62.3 billion which translates to a 49.6 percent decline in net farm income since 2013.


The PLC program has worked for peanuts, McMillan adds, but peanuts are not sufficient to carry an entire farming operation. “In a time when corn and cotton prices have been depressed and with the lack of a cotton PLC program, more pressure has been placed on farmers to plant peanuts by lenders,” McMillan says.


Currently, demand of peanuts has kept pace with the supply of peanuts. U.S. per capita peanut consumption increased 12 percent from 2012 to 2016. The peanut industry has also witnessed strong growth in the export market growing by 71 percent between the 2008 and 2014 Farm Bill.


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


U.S. peanut industry donates 30,000 jars of peanut butter to Capital Area Food

U.S. peanut industry donates 30,000 jars of peanut butter to Capital Area Food

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. peanut industry donated more than 30,000 jars of peanut butter to Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C. on National Ag Day, March 21, 2017. The Capital Area Food Bank is the largest organization in the

Alabama Peanut Producers Association executive director, Caleb Bristow, assisted in making the special peanut butter donation to the Capital Area Food Bank in Washington, D.C.


Washington metro area working to solve hunger and its companion problems: chronic undernutrition, heart disease, and obesity. The donation was made possible by the partners of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, which includes Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Florida Peanut Producers Association, Georgia Peanut Commission and Mississippi Peanut Growers Association.


“We have found that peanut butter is one of the most requested items by food banks nationwide”, says Caleb Bristow, Alabama Peanut Producers Association executive director and Southern Peanut Farmers Federation member. “Not only is it a high-quality product, but it is full of nutrition and tastes great. On behalf of the Southern Peanut Farmer’s Federation, representing peanut farmers all across the Southeast, we are excited and proud to have this opportunity to provide this donation to the Capital Area Food Bank.”


Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., representative of Georgia’s second congressional district, joined the Federation members during the donation.


“I am honored to serve the top peanut producing congressional district in the country. Peanuts are a vital product of Middle and Southwest Georgia, and a key ingredient for an assortment of delicious and nutritious food products,” Congressman Bishop says. “I applaud the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation for their donation of 30,000+ jars of Peanut Proud peanut butter to the Capital Area Food Bank. This kind and generous donation will aid the Food Bank in their efforts to feed and provide for the surrounding community.”


By partnering with 444 community organizations in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, as well as delivering food directly into hard to reach areas, the CAFB is helping 540,000 people each year get access to good, healthy food.


Donations from organizations such as the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation are essential to the food bank’s operations, and allow the Capital Area Food Bank to distribute 46 million pounds of food to its network of partner nonprofits each year.


“Peanut butter is one of the hardest items to keep on our shelves because it’s protein-packed, kid-friendly, and in high demand from our partners,” said Jody Tick, chief operating officer at the food bank. “We’re thrilled for this donation, and 30,000 jars of peanut butter will go a long way towards helping children and families in our area get the food they need to live well”. The donation was also made in celebration of National Peanut Month in March and National Ag Day. One serving of peanuts is a good source of protein, vitamin E, niacin, folate, phosphorus and magnesium. Peanuts are naturally cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat.


For additional details on the donation, visit the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation website at

Auburn, NPRL Release New Peanut Variety

Auburn, NPRL Release New Peanut Variety

Auburn, NPRL Release New Peanut Variety

Auburn University might be relatively new to the peanut breeding business, but its just-released runner peanut variety is already winning accolades for its high yields,

Charles Chen, professor of peanut breeding and genetics, says the new peanut variety AU-NPL 17 establishes a research pipeline for future releases.

resistance to disease and healthy traits.

The new release—AU-NPL 17—is the product of a peanut breeding program operated jointly by the College of Agriculture’s Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences and USDA’s National Peanut Research Lab in Dawson, Georgia. It’s the first runner-type cultivar released by the program and is well-adapted for growing conditions throughout the Southeast.

Runner peanuts are most commonly used for making peanut butter and are typically grown in Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Florida, South Carolina, Mississippi and Arkansas. They account for 80 percent of the estimated 1.5 million acres of peanuts grown in the United States, with Alabama growers planting approximately 175,000 acres this past year.

While the Auburn peanut breeding program is the youngest of its kind in the Southeast, it is rapidly making a name for itself, says Charles Chen, a former USDA Agricultural Research Service research geneticist who joined the College of Agriculture in 2012 and is a professor of peanut breeding and genetics.

“With the release of this first runner-type variety, we’re establishing a research pipeline,” Chen says. “Now we’ll be able to make new crosses or selections and other varieties can be released through the program. There’s always something to improve upon; you never reach perfection. That is why we are here.”

Future releases will build on AU-NPL 17’s high yield, disease resistance and other factors, he says.

“You can never totally suppress pests if you continue to grow a cultivar in the field,” Chen says. “By nature, pests will mutate and fight resistance and tolerance, so resistance eventually will be conquered by pest mutations.”

AU-NPL 17 has been tested throughout Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and North Carolina, where runner-type peanuts of a medium maturity group are adapted.

“It has shown good adaptability, with its primary advantage being high yields and good adaptation from irrigated fields to nonirrigated, from single to twin-row patterns, and when grown with or without fungicide treatments,” Chen says.

In terms of yield per acre, AU-NPL 17 compares favorably with Georgia-06G, the University of Georgia release that has been the gold standard of Southeastern growers for several years now. In yield tests conducted in 2014 and 2015 in Headland, Fairhope, Dawson and Hattiesburg, Mississippi. AU-NPL 17 averaged 6,499 pounds per acre in eight tests as compared to Georgia-06G’s average of 6,175 pounds per acre.

In USDA Uniform Peanut Performance Tests 2016, AU-NPL 17 yielded higher than Georgia-06G in Alabama and North Carolina. In terms of ranking, the Auburn variety was ranked No. 1 in Alabama tests and No. 2 in North Carolina tests, with GA-06G ranking No. 5 in both tests.

AU-NPL 17 also is resistant to tomato spotted wilt virus and tolerant to leaf spot disease, both primary pest concerns for Southeastern growers. In addition, it has some resistance to white mold.

“In tests without fungicide treatments, AU-NPL 17 is generally more resistant or tolerant to tomato spotted wilt virus, early and late leaf spot and white mold than other cultivars in the test,” Chen says.


A healthier peanut

Auburn’s new peanut release also contains a higher amount of oleic acid compared to standard peanuts. Oleic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid, also known as a “good fat,” that reduces the amount of LDL, known as “bad” cholesterol, while boosting the levels of “good” HDL. Monounsaturated fats are commonly found in foods such as nuts, seeds, olive oil, canola oil and avocados. This trait also substantially improves the shelf life of peanuts and peanut products.

“The industry is demanding a high-oleic peanut,” says Chen. In fact, Mars Chocolate, one of the top five peanut buyers globally, has committed to using 100 percent high-oleic peanuts in their products by the end of this year.

“We don’t produce as many high-oleic peanuts in the U.S. as countries such as Argentina and Australia, and that hurts our competitiveness internationally,” Chen says. “I believe high oleic will become the standard for U.S. peanut production.”

Yet another value of high-oleic peanuts is that peanut buyers normally pay farmers a premium for growing them.

Six-thousand pounds of breeder seeds of AU-NPL 17 will be planted this year by the Alabama Crop Improvement Association, Chen says.

“Hopefully, next year, we will have 120 tons of foundation seed,” he says. “We should have a few farmers growing the cultivar on a test basis in the spring of 2018, and most farmers will have the seed available to them in 2019.”

While the peanut cultivar breeding process typically takes about 10 years to complete, Chen was able to shorten it by a couple of years by growing peanuts in Puerto Rico during the winter months.

“Peanut breeders can send seed to Puerto Rico in November and then get increased seed back at the end of March to speed up the process,” he says. “We did that for two seasons, so it gave us a shorter interval with this cultivar.”


The first of many

John Beasley, professor and head of Auburn’s Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences, says AU-NPL 17 should prove to be of tremendous benefit to growers in Alabama and throughout the Southeast. Beasley should know; he was a peanut agronomist at the University of Georgia for 30 years before coming to Auburn.

“We’re very excited for Dr. Chen and his program,” Beasley says. “In addition to outstanding yields, this new cultivar also has resistance to some of the more common peanut diseases and, even more important, it has high oleic acid, which is now being required by the industry and demanded by consumers. AU-NPL 17 should be an especially good fit for Alabama producers, since it was developed and tested in the state, and it should help growers lower their seed and overall production costs.”

Beasley says AU-NPL 17 is the first of what will be many runner-type releases from the program at Auburn.

“We’re looking at sources from other programs, and our program will help to expand the genetic resources available in the Southeast,” he says. “This release certainly puts us on the map as far as breeding programs go, and we’re expecting many new releases in the coming years with different genetic traits.”

One area the breeding program will focus on in the future will be traits that enable more efficient plant water use, Beasley says. This would prove beneficial for producers in Alabama, where a majority of the cropland is not irrigated.