USDA seeks nominees for Peanut Standards Board

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2015 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture is seeking nominations for peanut producers and industry representatives to serve on the Peanut Standards Board.

The board consists of 18 members with representation equally divided between peanut producers and industry representatives. Representation is divided among three regions: the Southeast (Alabama, Georgia and Florida); the Southwest (Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico) and Virginia/North Carolina. Each region has three producer seats and three industry representative seats with staggered three-year terms.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will appoint one producer and one industry representative from each region to succeed members whose terms expire on June 30, 2015. The six new members will serve terms ending on June 30, 2018.

The 2002 Farm Bill established the Peanut Standards Board to consult with USDA regarding quality and handling standards for domestically produced and imported peanuts. The board plays a key role in representing the U.S. peanut industry on issues affecting quality and marketability.

USDA encourages board membership that reflects the diversity of the industry it represents. All eligible women, minorities and persons with disabilities are invited to seek nomination for a seat on the Peanut Standards Board by the Aug. 24, 2015, deadline.

For nominating forms and additional information, visit:, or contact Jennie M. Varela, Marketing Specialist, or Christian D. Nissen, Regional Director, Southeast Marketing Field Office, Marketing Order and Agreement Division, Fruit and Vegetable Program, AMS, USDA; Telephone: (863) 324-3375, Fax: (863) 291-8614, or E-mail: or

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EPA proposes stronger standards for people applying the pesticides with the greatest risk

Image result for epaWashington (Aug. 5, 2015) - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing stronger standards for pesticide applicators who apply “restricted-use” pesticides.  These pesticides are not available for purchase by the general public, require special handling, and may only be applied by a certified applicator or someone working under his or her direct supervision.

“We are committed to keeping our communities safe, protecting our environment and protecting workers and their families, said Jim Jones, EPA Assistant Administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “By improving training and certification, those who apply these restricted use pesticides will have better knowledge and ability to use these pesticides safely.”

The goal of today’s action is to reduce the likelihood of harm from the misapplication of toxic pesticides and ensure a consistent level of protection among states. Pesticide use would be safer with increased supervision and oversight.

EPA is proposing stricter standards for people certified to use restricted use pesticides and to require all people who apply restricted use pesticides to be at least 18 years old.  Certifications would have to be renewed every 3 years.

EPA is proposing additional specialized licensing for certain methods of application that can pose greater risks if not conducted properly, such as fumigation and aerial application.  For further protection, those working under the supervision of certified applicators would now need training on using pesticides safely and protecting their families from take-home pesticide exposure.

State agencies issue licenses to pesticide applicators who need to demonstrate under an EPA-approved program their ability to use these products safely. The proposed revisions would reduce the burden on applicators and pest control companies that work across state lines. The proposal promotes consistency across state programs by encouraging inter-state recognition of licenses.

The proposal also updates the requirements for States, Tribes, and Federal agencies that administer their own certification programs to incorporate the strengthened standards. Many states already have in place some or many of EPA’s proposed changes. The proposed changes would raise the bar nationally to a level that most states have already achieved.  The estimated benefits of $80.5 million would be due to fewer acute pesticide incidents to people.

EPA encourages public comment on the proposed improvements. The 90 day public comment period will begin when the proposal is published in the Federal Register.

A copy of the proposal and more information about certification for pesticide applicators:

To comment on the proposed changes, visit and search for docket number EPA-HQ-OPP-2011-0183 after publication in the federal register.

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July/August 2015 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer

julyaug2015cvr_webThe July/August 2015 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

This issue features the:

  • 2015 Harvest Guidebook
  • Scouting peanut fields for pests
  • U.S. trade mission to China
  • USA Peanut Congress awards
  • Georgia Peanut Tour set for September
  • Brown to lead Peanut Foundation
  • Members named to Agricultural Trade Advisory Committees
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Legislative Update
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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Morris and Koehler appointed to USDA committees on agricultural trade

IMG_8739TIFTON, Ga. (July 9, 2015) U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and United States Trade Representative Michael Froman recently announced the appointment of Brenda Morris, peanut farmer from Ocilla, Georgia, to the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee (APAC) and Don Koehler, Georgia Peanut Commission executive director, to the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade in Tobacco, Cotton and Peanuts (ATACs).

“The last six years have been the strongest in history for U.S. agricultural exports, with international sales of American farm and food exports totaling $771.7 billion,” says Sec. Vilsack. “Those exports now support more than a million quality American jobs. As we negotiate new trade agreements in Asia and Europe we will rely on APAC and ATAC members’ expertise and knowledge to bring home the best possible deals.”

Morris was reappointed to serve on the Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee until June 15, 2019. Morris has been farming with her husband, Armond, in Ocilla, Georgia, for 52 years. The farm totals 2,500 acres of peanuts, cotton, corn and small grains.

“I feel privileged as a farmer to be able to serve on APAC and provide advice regarding trade policy and the impact of trade negotiations,” Morris says. “Trade is important to farmers as we continue to seek additional export opportunities and develop policy and trade negotiations that will benefit the American farmer.”

Koehler’s reappointment to the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee (ATAC) for Trade in Tobacco, Cotton and Peanuts is effective through June 15, 2019. The Tobacco, Cotton and Peanuts ATAC provides technical advice on U.S. agricultural trade issues to the Secretary of Agriculture and the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

“I am honored to represent the peanut farmers of Georgia on the ATAC Committee,” Koehler says. “We are making great strides in the export market for peanuts and we need to continue to focus our efforts on increasing trade as our productivity continues to advance.”

Congress established the advisory committee system in 1974 to ensure a private-sector voice in establishing U.S. agricultural trade policy objectives to reflect U.S. commercial and economic interests. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative jointly manage the committees.

The APAC provides advice and information to the Secretary of Agriculture and the U.S. Trade Representative on the administration of trade policy; including enforcement of existing trade agreements and negotiating objectives for new trade agreements. The ATACs offer technical advice and information about specific commodities and products.

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Farm Credit to Offer Free Financial Training for Local Farmers

AgGeorgia Farm Credit and AgSouth Farm Credit are pleased to announce that both Associations are offering AGAware® workshops this summer.  AGAware is a national award-winning program whose purpose is to promote and educate the next generation of farmers.  Young, beginning, small, and/or minority farmers are encouraged to sign up to attend this FREE training.

“The Farm Credit System has a mission to serve agriculture and rural America, and its been doing that for nearly a century,” said Van McCall, director of the AGAware program.  In support of that mission, AgSouth Farm Credit and AgGeorgia Farm Credit provide loans and supporting services to young, beginning, small, and minority farmers in our territory. Our hope is that our council along with the support of other key agricultural entities will help ensure that future farmers will be prepared and financially strong so they may continue doing what they love and providing something so vital to our survival.”

Topics of the workshop include: Balance Sheets, Income Statements, Family Finance & Family Budgeting, Risk Management, Accrual Income, Applying for Financing, Preparing a Business Plan, Technology & Record Keeping, Marketing Assistance Available through the Department of Agriculture, FSA/SBA, and other programs. Applications for scholarships for continuing education through Farm Credit University will be available to graduates of AGAware. AGAware is certified for FSA Direct Borrower training credit.

Seminars are scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the following locations, and a free lunch is provided. Space is limited. Sign up today:

Friday, July 17
UGA Tifton Conference Center
15 RDC Rd.
Tifton, Georgia
Register for this class

Friday, August 28
University of West Georgia
The Coliseum
1601 Maple St.
Carrollton, Georgia
Register for this class

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East Alabama farmers eligible for new irrigation efficiency project

Farmers in 10 east Alabama counties may be eligible for funding to improve irrigation efficiency through a new Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The program is available in parts of Barbour, Bullock, Chambers, Geneva, Henry, Houston, Lee Macon, Randolph and Russell counties. Eligible farmers may apply and use funds for irrigation practices including retrofits for nozzles on irrigation systems.

The project covers 13 million acres in eastern Alabama, western Georgia and the Florida panhandle. It’s focused on the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint rivers (ACFR) basin. Applications will be accepted June 8-19. For more information, visit a local USDA Service Center.

This RCPP is a collaboration between the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation District and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.

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U.S. Rep. Roby talks with peanut growers

Roby-for-websiteU.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Alabama, recently spoke to a group of peanut growers from the Wiregrass area and reiterated her dedication to agriculture and protecting the farmers’ interests in Washington. Pictured is Carl Sanders (center), president of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, as he and Mitt Walker (left) , director, National Legislative Programs for the Alabama Farmers Federation, talk with Roby about the future of agriculture and their concern over the growing number of regulations that affect the more than 1,000 peanut growers in Alabama.
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Florida Peanut Producers Association Scholarship Awards Program

PrintThe Florida Peanut Producers Association is pleased to announce the opening of the 2015 Scholarship Awards Program, effective April 1, 2015.

Two $1,200 scholarships will be awarded to deserving high school seniors and/or college students. The applicant or someone in the applicant’s family must be actively producing peanuts in Florida. It is the intent of the Scholarship Award Committee, however, that the award recipients attend a Florida junior college or university.

Download application and instructions here.

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Southern Peanut Farmers Federation submits comments on “actively engaged” in farming proposed rule

SPFF _logocolor2RGBThis past March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued their proposed rule to define what it means to be “actively engaged” in farming and therefore eligible to receive federal farm payments. After review by the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation (SPFF) members, there are important issues that concern Southern agriculture including, but not limited to, the limits on the number of farm managers. The SPFF joined other agricultural organizations in comments to USDA on the proposed “actively engaged” definition. The SPFF is comprised of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, the Florida Peanut Producers Association, Mississippi Peanut Growers Association and the Georgia Peanut Commission.

View the comments submitted by the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation.

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May/June 2015 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The May/June 2015 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

mayjune2015_cvrwebThis issue features the:

  • 2015 Irrigation Guidebook
  • Southern Peanut Growers Conference Schedule
  • Georgia Peanut Commission increases research funding
  • Peanut pop-up in the Big Apple
  • Innovative project underway at Federal State Shipping Point Inspection Service
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Legislative Update
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
Posted in Alabama News, Florida News, General, Georgia News, Legislative, Mississippi News | Leave a comment