USDA Announces Appointments to the  Peanut Standards Board

USDA Announces Appointments to the Peanut Standards Board

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced the appointment of eighteen members to serve on the Peanut Standards Board. To maintain staggered terms of office, six appointees will serve a one-year term, six will serve a two-year term, and six will serve a three-year term of office. The appointments are effective immediately. The newly appointed members are:

 

Appointed members serving a one-year term, expiring June 30, 2025:

Larry Ford, Greenwood, Fla. (Producer Member SE Region)
Dr. Darlene Cowart, Blakely, Ga. (Industry Member SE Region)
Greg Hughes, Seminole, Texas (Producer Member SW Region)
Dr. Michael Franke, Brownfield, Texas (Industry Member SW Region)
David L. Davenport, Greenville, N.C. (Producer Member V/C Region)
Carl Gray, Severn, N.C. (Industry Member V/C Region)

 

 

Appointed members serving a two-year term, expiring June 30, 2026:

Marty McLendon, Leary, Ga. (Producer Member SE Region)
Rachel Santos, Douglas, Ga. (Industry Member SE Region)
Aaron Martin, Brownfield, Texas (Producer Member SW Region)
Lupe De Lira, Seagraves, Texas (Industry Member SW Region)
Donny L. Lassiter, Conway, N.C. (Producer Member V/C Region)
Ryan Ososki, Alexandria, Va. (Industry Member V/C Region)

 

Appointed members serving a three-year term, expiring June 30, 2027:

Carl Sanders, Brundidge, Ala. (Producer Member SE Region)
Caleb Weaver Smithville, Ga. (Industry Member SE Region)
Michael Newhouse, Clarendon, Texas (Producer Member SW Region)
Shelly Nutt, McKinney Texas (Industry Member SW Region)
Paul Rogers, Wakefield, Va. (Producer Member V/C Region)
Ashley M. Patterson, Suffolk, Va. (Industry Member V/C Region)

 

The 18-member board is comprised of nine producers and nine industry members from peanut production areas in the Southeast, Southwest, and Virginia/Carolina regions of the United States.

 

More information about the board is available on the Agricultural Marketing Service Peanut Standards Board webpage.

 

 

AMS policy is that diversity of the boards, councils and committees it oversees should reflect the diversity of their industries in terms of the experience of members, methods of production and distribution, marketing strategies and other distinguishing factors, including but not limited to individuals from historically underserved communities, that will bring different perspectives and ideas to the table. Throughout the full nomination process, the industry must conduct extensive outreach, paying particular attention to reaching underserved communities, and consider the diversity of the population served and the knowledge, skills and abilities of the members to serve a diverse population.

WIC Package Final Rule Excludes Peanut Butter for Infants

WIC Package Final Rule Excludes Peanut Butter for Infants

On April 9, USDA announced the Final Rule on Revisions in the Women, Infant and Children (WIC)  Food Packages. Despite the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans published in 2020 that specifically state, “Introducing peanut-containing foods in the first year reduces the risk that an infant will develop a food allergy to peanuts,” peanut foods have not been included in the infant food package for ages 6-11 months. 

 

Read more at: https://nationalpeanutboard.org/news/wic-package-final-rule-excludes-peanut-butter-for-infants/

 

Source: National Peanut Board

USDA Announces Voting Period for Continuance Referendum

USDA Announces Voting Period for Continuance Referendum

USDA Announces Voting Period for Continuance Referendum for National Peanut Research and Promotion Program
Eligible peanut producers can opt to vote electronically or by paper ballot.

 

FEB 28, 2024 – ATLANTA, GA – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published a notice in the Federal Register announcing a referendum among eligible producers of peanuts to determine whether they favor continuance of the Peanut Promotion, Research and Information Order (Order), which authorizes the National Peanut Board.

The referendum will be conducted from April 8 through April 19, 2024. USDA will provide the option for electronic balloting. Further details will be stated in the official ballot instructions, which will be sent by regular U. S. mail to all eligible peanut producers. Voters must return ballots postmarked by April 19, 2024. Ballots returned via express mail or electronic means must show proof of delivery by no later than 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on April 19, 2024.

 

To be eligible to vote in this continuance referendum, persons must have produced peanuts and been subject to assessments during the representative period from January 1, 2022, through December 31, 2022.

 

Under the Commodity Promotion, Research and Information Act of 1996 (Act), the U.S. Department of Agriculture must conduct a referendum every five years or when 10% or more of the eligible peanut producers petition the Secretary of Agriculture to hold a referendum to determine if persons subject to assessment favor continuance of the Order. The Department of Agriculture would continue the Order if continuance is approved by a simple majority of the producers voting in the referendum.

 

Vickie Carpenter and Deanna Bakken, MDD, SCP, AMS, USDA, Stop 0244, Room 1406-S, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-0244, are designated as the referendum agents to conduct this referendum. The referendum agents will distribute the ballots and voting instructions by U. S. mail or through electronic means to all known producers prior to the first day of the voting period. Persons who produced peanuts and were subject to assessments during the representative period are eligible to vote.

 

Any eligible producer who does not receive a ballot should contact the referendum agent as soon as possible.

###

 

Contact: Maria Mehok

Phone: 678.424.5755

2024 Alabama Peanut Production Meetings Schedule Available

2024 Alabama Peanut Production Meetings Schedule Available

The Alabama Peanut Producers Association and the Alabama Peanut Team kick-off the 2024 Alabama Peanut Production meetings on Monday, Feb. 12 in Cullman, AL. This is the first of eight meetings that will be held across the state for peanut farmers.

 

Peanut farmers will hear the latest research-based recommendations for managing disease, insects and weeds on their farm. A peanut market outlook and peanut variety recommendations will be shared as well.

 

To see the entire meeting schedule, CLICK HERE.

 

For more information, contact your Regional Extension Agent or the APPA office at 334-792-6482.

Alabama 4-H Peanut Essay Contest Winners Announced

Alabama 4-H Peanut Essay Contest Winners Announced

The Alabama Peanut Producers Association is proud to sponsor the Alabama 4-H Peanut Essay Contest. This year’s topic was “How Peanuts Have Comforted You?”

 

Twenty-nine entries from 15 counties were received for judging in the state contest. Each 4-H’er who had an essay entered in the state contest receives a peanut t-shirt. The winners of each age category receive a monetary prize – 1st place-$50, 2nd place-$35 and 3rd place-$25.

 

WINNERS

 

Junior
1st place – Sarah Cate Gamble, Henry Co.
2nd place – Cooper Jane May, Marshall Co.
3rd place – Luke Linder, Choctaw Co.

Intermediate
1st place – Connor Dingler, Marshall Co.
2nd place – William Moore, Choctaw Co.
3rd place – Anna Errett, Cullman Co.

Senior 1
1st place – Alexander Stinson, Butler Co.
2nd place – Kit Quinlivan, Henry Co.
3rd place – Will Breuer, Monroe Co.

Senior 2
1st place – Ellie Errett, Cullman Co.
2nd place – Sarah Sloughfy, Calhoun Co.
3rd place – Joseph Kirkland, Henry Co.

Tuberville Presses Appropriators To Freeze H-2A Rates

Tuberville Presses Appropriators To Freeze H-2A Rates

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) led nine Republican colleagues in sending a letter to leadership of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees slamming the increase in Adverse Effect Wage Rates (AEWR). Senator Tuberville and his colleagues are requesting language in an upcoming appropriations package to freeze H-2A wage rates at the January 2023 levels and reinstate the 14-day delay between the AEWR rate posting and the implementation period. The AEWR increase furthers the financial burdens upon employers who utilize the H-2A program.

 

“The recent 2024 AEWR increase imposes significant financial strains upon employers who utilize agricultural guestworkers, yet many employers do not have another option as they depend upon the H-2A program for a reliable workforce,” said the Senators. “As the demand for H-2A labor remains strong, employers who utilize the program generally agree that without additional labor from guestworkers, American producers could not efficiently plant or harvest crops.”

 

Industry supporters of this letter include: American Farm Bureau Federation, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, International Fresh Produce Association, American Hort, North American Blueberry Council, National Cotton Council, U.S. Peanut Federation, USA Rice, National Pecan Federation, Southern Cotton Growers, Southeast Cotton Ginners Association, Alabama Farmers Federation (ALFA), Alabama Nursery & Landscape Association, Alabama Peanut Producers Association, and Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.

 

U.S. Senator Tommy Tuberville was joined by U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-ID), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Rick Scott (R-FL), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Tillis (R-NC), Mike Braun (R-IN), Ted Budd (R-NC), and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY).

 

Today, Agri-Pulse highlighted the letter in their morning newsletter. Read the article here.

 

Read the full letter below or here.

 

“We write regarding the annual modifications to the Average Effect Wage Rate (AEWR), which continues to financially burden our nation’s agricultural producers who utilize the H-2A Temporary Agriculture Worker program (H-2A program). We urge you to include language in an upcoming appropriations package to freeze current H-2A wage rates at January 2023 levels and reinstate the 14-day delay between the AEWR rate posting and the implementation period.

 

 

Over the last year, the Department of Labor (DOL) amended the H-2A program numerous times to force unreasonable regulations on employers who utilize temporary and seasonal nonimmigrant workers to perform agricultural labor in the United States. On March 30, 2023, DOL amended the methodology1 for calculating the AEWR, without any stakeholder input. 2 H-2A employers are now faced with two AEWR changes annually, one each from the Farm Labor Survey and the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Survey. Following the AEWR calculation change, DOL issued a proposed rule3 on September 15, 2023, removing the 14-day wage implementation period to require H-2A employers to immediately post the new rate when finalized. Subsequently, DOL published 2024 AEWR rates on December 14, 2023,4 which increased the AEWR average rate by upwards of 5 percent from last year. The cost of labor is already one of the top expenses our farmers face, and DOL’s burdensome requirements hinder their abilities to hire agricultural guestworkers and still make a profit.

 

 

The recent 2024 AEWR increase imposes significant financial strains upon employers who utilize agricultural guestworkers, yet many employers do not have another option as they depend upon the H-2A program for a reliable workforce. H-2A wage rates have risen annually for the past two decades and doubled since 2005. According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, the new H-2A wage rule set to crush family farms. the new average AEWR rate is approximately $17.55/hr., with varying wages from $14.53/hr. to $19.75/hr., depending upon the geographical region.5 Thirteen states face AEWR increases of $1.00/hr. to $1.49/hr., while thirty states face increases of $0.50/hr. to $0.99/hr.6 In comparison, the federal minimum wage is $7.25/hr.,7 less than half the cost of AEWR in any state. Despite annual AEWR increases, the H-2A program continues to experience record participation levels, with 378,513 positions certified in fiscal year 2023 across the nation. 8 As the demand for H-2A labor remains strong, employers who utilize the program generally agree that without additional labor from guestworkers, American producers could not efficiently plant or harvest crops.

 

 

Considering our nation’s agriculture industry is dependent on foreign workers when domestic workers are unavailable to fill open positions in the farming industry, we must prioritize the ability of farmers to pay rising wages amidst record-high inflation and skyrocketing input costs. In addition to wages, employers must budget for acquiring, housing, and transporting guestworkers. In many states, receiving H-2A workers costs approximately $1,000 in fees each, not including the wage rate and housing expenses incurred after arrival to the work site.9 The recent changes to AEWR disrupt an already damaged system and further inhibit farmers and producers from their task at hand – feeding, clothing, and fueling our great nation. Small, family owned farms and specialty crop growers are among the most vulnerable to increased costs in the H-2A program and at the highest risk of closure. As expenses continue to rise, family-owned farms will be forced to close, leading to further consolidation in the agricultural industry. Any changes to the H-2A program should be subject to thorough and insightful action by Congress, not forced on producers by the executive branch. We must prioritize our farmers’ needs for reliable labor through a flexible approach to the agricultural guestworker program, which provides both farmers and workers a level playing field.

 

 

To reiterate, we request the inclusion of language in an upcoming appropriations package to freeze current H-2A wage rates at January 2023 levels and reinstate the 14-day delay between the AEWR rate posting and the implementation period. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.”

 

BACKGROUND:

The H-2A temporary agricultural visa program allows agricultural employers who anticipate a shortage of domestic workers to bring nonimmigrant foreign workers to the U.S. to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or seasonal nature. Employment of a seasonal nature is tied to a certain time of year by an event or pattern, such as a short annual growing cycle, requires labor levels above what is necessary for ongoing operations, and must be less than a year. There is not a cap on the program and its use continues to grow, with 378,513 positions certified in Fiscal Year 2023 according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

 

Recently, DOL proposed a new rule that gives unions unprecedented access to temporary foreign agricultural workers to pressure them into unionization. Specifically, the new rule would permit union officials to participate in employee disciplinary meetings and collect their private information for an organizing campaign. It would also force farmers to allow union organizers uncharted access into employer-sponsored housing for workers and prohibit farmers from discussing the organizing campaign with their workers.  Congress did not authorize the growing unionization of farm workers to prevent labor strikes that would threaten harvests and disrupt food supply. DOL has existing regulations to ensure temporary foreign workers receive fair wages and have safe working conditions.

 

In December, Senator Tuberville joined Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and 16 Republican senators in writing a letter criticizing the Department of Labor’s (DOL) proposed rule that would allow unions to coerce and pressure temporary foreign agriculture workers into unionization. The proposed rulemaking would enhance benefits for foreign guestworkers by effectively unionizing the H-2A program, while inhibiting farmers from managing their own workforce.

 

Following the letter requesting an extension of the comment period, which was denied, Senator Tuberville submitted a comment letter in November expressing strong opposition to the Biden Administration’s proposed H-2A regulation. In the letter, he outlined how the proposed rule would hurt farmers and producers who rely on seasonal workers through the H-2A program for farm labor. The most burdensome mandate in the DOL proposal would require employers to immediately incorporate a new AEWR when finalized. This removes the critical 14-day period between the AEWR rate posting and the implementation period, which allows farmers time to adjust their payroll and budget. If employers mistakenly do not pay the updated AEWR, they must pay the heightened rate in backpay and are subject to penalties. The cost of labor is one of the top costs for our producers and employers require at least two weeks to calculate their financials to make the numbers work for increased payroll. Applying immediate adjustments to payroll strips employers’ ability to plan, take out loans, or maintain their available labor pool.

 

In November, Senator Tuberville joined Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) in sending another letter requesting an extension of the comment period for the proposed rule, but the request for the extension was denied by DOL.

 

Farmers in Alabama and across the country rely on the H-2A program for farm labor, with 2,178 beneficiaries participating in the program in the State in 2022. Senator Tuberville believes the H-2A program is already overregulated, which impacts farmers and growers who rely on it. More information on the program can be found on the DOL and DHS websites.

 

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the United States Senate and is a member of the Senate Armed Services, Agriculture, Veterans’ Affairs, and HELP Committees.

Alabama-Florida Peanut Trade Show Held Feb. 1, 2024

Alabama-Florida Peanut Trade Show Held Feb. 1, 2024

DOTHAN, Ala. (Feb. 2, 2024) – Peanut growers from Alabama and Florida were able to fine-tune their farming operations with information gained at the Alabama-Florida Peanut Trade Show February 1, 2024 at the National Peanut Festival fairgrounds in Dothan, Alabama. The trade show was hosted by Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA) and Florida Peanut Producers Association (FPPA), and sponsored by National Peanut Board. The National Peanut Festival was the venue sponsor.

 

Over 400 peanut growers and industry partners from Alabama and Florida attended to view industry products and services offered by more than 60 exhibitors.

 

Researchers from Auburn University and the University of Florida were on hand to showcase the peanut research they are working on with the support of grower check-off dollars. Growers could talk to the researchers one-on-one about the research projects.

 

During the lunch program, attendees heard from Greg Baltz, chairman of the National Peanut Board and an Arkansas peanut farmer, and Ryan Lepecier, the newly appointed President and CEO of the National Peanut Board. Bob Redding of the Redding Firm delivered a legislative update via video. Senator Tommy Tuberville shared greetings to the growers via video as well. Dr. Marshall Lamb, from the National Peanut Research Lab, spoke to growers about the 2024 peanut market outlook.

 

Several door prizes were given out throughout the morning of the trade show, but the prizes everyone was most looking forward to winning were announced after lunch.

 

The Grand Door Prize, provided by Kelley Manufacturing Co., of a $5,000 voucher that can be used toward $5,000 off the price of any one piece of equipment or for $5,000 worth of parts for KMC equipment was won by Dennis McCord of Cottonwood, AL.

 

Myron Johnson of Headland, Alabama won a free trip to the 2024 Southern Peanut Growers Conference in July. Ashley Kelley of Andalusia, Alabama won a Steoger 12 gauge shotgun.

 

Thank you to our 2024 Exhibitors

AG Nutrients
Ag Spray Equipment
AgLogic Chemical
Alabama Ag Credit
Alabama Dept. of Ag & Ind.
AMADAS
American Peanut Council
AMVAC
Atlantic & Southern Equipment
Auburn University
BASF
Bayer Crop Science
Bestway Ag
Birdsong Peanuts
C3 Ag Consulting, LLC
Coastal Ag Services
Colombo NA
Corteva Agriscience
DeltAg Formulations
Farmers Business Network
First South Farm Credit
Florida Farm Credit Associations
Florida Foundation Seed
FMC
Harrell Ag Products
HBT Supply
Helms Manufacturing Co.
Hudson Alpha Wiregrass
InformedAg
Kelley Manufacturing Co.
LMC-Ag
Miller Chemical & Fertilizer
National Peanut Board
Nichino America, Inc
Nolin Steel
Nuseed
O’Bryan Agri-Insurance
Pacific Ag Rentals
Peanut Proud Festival
Peerless Manufacturing Co.
Rabo Agrifinance
Rentz Irrigation
SanBuck Insurance
Schutz Insurance
SePRO Ag LLC
SimPlot Grower Solutions
Southeastern Peanut Farmer
Southern Ag Service
Southern Silage Supply LLC
SouthGen Solutions
SunSouth John Deere
Sweet Grown Alabama
Syngenta Crop Protection
The KBH Corp.
The Peanut Institute
Tidewater Equipment Co.
University of Florida
UPL
USDA-Farm Service Agency (AL)
USDA-NRCS/ Houston Co. Soil & Water
USDA ARS- National Peanut Research Lab
Valent
Vantage South
Walker Insurance
Wiregrass Equipment Co.

 

 

2024 Alabama-Florida Peanut Show Set for Feb. 1

2024 Alabama-Florida Peanut Show Set for Feb. 1

The Alabama-Florida Peanut Trade Show is set for Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024. The show is hosted by the Alabama Peanut Producers Association and the Florida Peanut Producers Association, and sponsored by the National Peanut Board. Our venue sponsor is the National Peanut Festival.

 

Peanut farmers from Alabama and Florida can expect to visit with over 70 vendors who can help them fine-tune their operations for 2024. Researchers from Auburn University and the University of Florida will be in the “Research Corner” again this year to talk with farmers about their ongoing research which is funded by check-off dollars. And you don’t want to miss a warm grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a cup of coffee to get your morning started!

 

Door prizes will be awarded throughout the show. The Grand Door prize is from KMC.. Other door prizes include a shotgun and a trip to the Southern Peanut Growers Conference.

 

During the lunch, growers will hear a market update from Marshall Lamb, and a legislative update from Bob Redding.

 

Doors open at 8:30 am. Be sure to register for door prizes as you enter the trade show. Only active peanut farmers with a FSA number will be eligible for prizes.

 

We are looking forward to a great 2024 peanut trade show!

 

Interested in exhibiting at the 2024 AL-FL Peanut Trade Show? Email klhataway@alpeanuts.com

 

2023 National Peanut Festival Recipe Contest set for Oct. 26

2023 National Peanut Festival Recipe Contest set for Oct. 26

The 2023 National Peanut Festival (NPF) Recipe Contest is set for Thursday, October 26. Entries can be dropped off at the NPF Volunteer Building between 8 – 10 am. Judging begins at  10 a.m. Awards ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. at the NPF Bank Plus Arena.

 

Click this link for rules and entry forms: 2023 RECIPE_CONTEST_RULES(1)

 

Alabama Peanut Producers Association is a sponsor of this contest. 

Pandemic Assistance Revenue and Emergency Relief Program

Pandemic Assistance Revenue and Emergency Relief Program

USDA Urban Agriculture Programs at a Glance

Agricultural producers can begin to apply for two new important programs for revenue losses, from 2020 and 2021 natural disasters or the COVID-19 pandemic. Both programs equitably fill gaps in earlier assistance. Applications for both new programs are due June 2, 2023, and you can apply for both programs during your same appointment with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).

First, you may be eligible for assistance through the Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase Two if you experienced revenue losses from eligible natural disasters in 2020 and 2021. ERP Phase Two is for producers who didn’t receive assistance from ERP Phase One.

You may also be eligible for the Pandemic Assistance Revenue Program (PARP) if you experienced revenue losses in calendar year 2020. PARP is addressing gaps in previous pandemic assistance, which was targeted at price loss or lack of market access, rather than overall revenue losses.

Producers interested in ERP Phase Two and PARP, should reach out to their local USDA Service Center to inquire and request assistance. You can also call the FSA call center at 877-508-8364.

Source: USDA Farm Service Agency