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

2017_timmcmillan_photofromhearingWASHINGTON, D.C. – Tim McMillan, farmer from Enigma, Georgia, testified today 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, www.southernpeanutfarmers.org.

View Tim McMillan’s testimony.
Watch the archived hearing.
Through the Eyes of a Farmer video series feature on Tim McMillan.

 

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Auburn, NPRL Release New Peanut Variety

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

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

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, 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.

Continue reading online . . .

By Paul Hollis, Auburn University

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March 2017 Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The March 2017 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

march2017sepf_coverThis issue features:

  • 2,4-D and Dicamba Dangers
  • Peanut Weed Guidebook
  • Florida Peanut Producers Association holds 42nd annual meeting
  • Mississippi Peanut Growers holds annual meeting and trade show
  • Alabama-Florida Peanut Trade Show held in February
  • Branch named Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer
  • Peanut industry provides relief in times of disaster
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Legislative Update
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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Peanut industry provides relief in times of disaster

The Georgia Peanut Commission delivers peanut butter to Bullard Farms in Cook County, Georgia. Pictured left to right are Joy Crosby, GPC director of communications, Jason Bullard, farmer from Adel, Ga., and Lamar Ray, director of the Cook County Emergency Management Agency.

The Georgia Peanut Commission delivers peanut butter to Bullard Farms in Cook County, Georgia. Pictured left to right are Joy Crosby, GPC director of communications, Jason Bullard, farmer from Adel, Ga., and Lamar Ray, director of the Cook County Emergency Management Agency.

The U.S peanut industry united to donate more than 60,000 jars of peanut butter to victims of the recent  tornadoes that swept across the Southeast.

Peanut butter has seven grams of  protein per serving, is shelf stable, requires no refrigeration or special    preparation and is enjoyable for all age groups, making it a natural choice for those who suddenly find themselves suffering from food insecurity or in a   natural disaster.

In early January, after the first round of storms, Peanut Proud donated 2,000 jars of peanut butter which was used in Dougherty County, Georgia, food relief packages. The packages went to low-income school children in a hard hit area. These kids were out of school and their damaged homes were without power for over 10 days. All were on free school lunch/breakfast program and did not have access to this program with the schools closed and without power. Teachers from the affected schools delivered the packages to their students. Thousands of PB&J sandwiches in bag meals were   distributed daily all over the area to storm victims in the weeks following the storm.

A second set of storms hit the Southeast Jan. 21 and 22 affecting Petal, Mississippi and several towns in Southwest Georgia with major damage in Albany, Ashburn and Adel.
Since those storms, Peanut Proud has raised more than $50,000 in donations from the Georgia Peanut Commission, the National Peanut Board, Texas Peanut Producers, Olam Edible Nuts, Birdsong Peanuts, National Peanut Buying Point Association, the American Peanut Shellers Association, LMC and Peanut Butter for the Hungry. Peanut Proud also received peanut butter donations from Kroger Company, J.B. Sanfilippo & Son and Golden Boy Foods.

“We are overwhelmed by the continuing generosity of Georgia’s farming community,” says Eliza McCall, chief marketing officer with Second Harvest of South Georgia. “This donation from the peanut industry will go a long way toward helping us care for our   neighbors in need.”

The peanut butter has been delivered to disaster relief organizations, local churches and food banks in Georgia and Mississippi.

For additional information on the project, visit www.peanutproud.com.

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Damaged irrigation pivots leave farmers without key farming tools

2017_01_27_tornadodamage_54sDeadly storms that ravaged much of south Georgia Jan. 20-22 also damaged or destroyed many irrigation pivots that supply needed water to agricultural crops.

According to University of Georgia Cooperative Extension specialists, irrigation systems in Calhoun, Turner, Wilcox and Worth counties were damaged by the storm systems that included multiple tornadoes.

As a result, many Georgia farmers are now choosing crops for the upcoming growing season with limited means of irrigation in mind. Farmers without pivot irrigation or access to irrigation are more likely to switch to growing peanuts or cotton, said Calvin Perry, superintendent of UGA’s C.M. Stripling Irrigation Research Park in Camilla, Georgia.

“If a farmer has multiple pivots and only one or two are damaged, those fields may get cotton or peanuts where water isn’t as vital as it is for corn. If the farmer also grows corn or sweet corn, he’s very unlikely to put corn or sweet corn where he can’t water,” Perry said.

Irrigation dealers have to order pivots months in advance, and the manpower needed to repair the damage could become an issue with so many systems damaged throughout south Georgia. Perry is not optimistic that damaged irrigation systems can be replaced before the end of the growing season, especially for corn growers who typically harvest corn in the middle of summer.

According to UGA Extension irrigation specialist Wes Porter, the majority of the damage involved pivot towers being flipped. Pivots that sustained significant structural damage can’t walk the field without repairs or replacement.

Perry and Porter said most farmers likely have insurance on their systems, some of which can cost over $100,000 depending on the length of the system and the size of the field it covers.

The damage would have been worse if crops were already planted and growing in the affected fields.

“This has definitely added a whole new level of complexity to our farmers’ decision-making. I think the worst time that something like this could happen would be in the middle of the growing season. After you get that crop growing and have a storm come through, that would be the worst,” Perry said. “Fortunately, we don’t have crops planted yet. Maybe they can make some adjustments to where they plant certain crops on their farms.”

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Georgia Peanut Farm Show provides a day of education for farmers

More than 1,400 attendees were able to fine-tune their farming operations with information gained at the 41st annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference on Jan. 19, 2017, at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center in Tifton, Georgia. The show is sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission.

The one-day show offered farmers a chance to view the products and services of more than 110 exhibitors, as well as a day of education. The University of Georgia Peanut Team presented an educational peanut production seminar focusing on advanced irrigation management. An industry seed seminar was held which highlighted peanut varieties available for 2017.

Pictured left to right: Armond Morris, GPC chairman; Special Award - Don McGough, Georgia Farm Bureau; Research & Education Award - Dean Sam Pardue, University of Georgia (accepting for President Jere W. Morehead); Special Award - John Harrell, farmer leader from Whigham, Ga.; Promotion Award – George Harter with Kroger Company; Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award - Brandon Branch of Baxley, Ga.; Media Award – Brian Hughes with RFDTV and David Hinson, business representative with BASF.

Pictured left to right: Armond Morris, GPC chairman; Special Award – Don McGough, Georgia Farm Bureau; Research & Education Award – Dean Sam Pardue, University of Georgia (accepting for President Jere W. Morehead); Special Award – John Harrell, farmer leader from Whigham, Ga.; Promotion Award – George Harter with Kroger Company; Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award – Brandon Branch of Baxley, Ga.; Media Award – Brian Hughes with RFDTV and David Hinson, business representative with BASF.

The Georgia Peanut Commission presented awards to individuals and businesses for their service to the peanut industry and promotion of peanuts across the United States. The award recipients are: Distinguished Service Award – Gov. Nathan Deal; Research and Education Award – Jere W. Morehead, president of the University of Georgia; Promotion Award – The Kroger Company; Media Award – RFD-TV; and Georgia Peanut Special Awards to John Harrell, past chairman of the National Peanut Board and Don McGough, director of the commodities/marketing department with Georgia Farm Bureau. The Georgia Peanut Commission board members also recognized Kelley Manufacturing Co. for their 50 years of agribusiness within the peanut industry.

Brandon Branch of Baxley, Ga., receives Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award for 2017 during the 41st annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show held Jan. 19, 2017 in Tifton, Ga. Pictured left to right: Armond Morris, chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission, Branch and David Hinson, business representative with BASF.

Brandon Branch of Baxley, Ga., receives Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award for 2017 during the 41st annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show held Jan. 19, 2017 in Tifton, Ga. Pictured left to right: Armond Morris, chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission, Branch and David Hinson, business representative with BASF.

The Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award, sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission and BASF, was presented to Brandon Branch of Baxley, Georgia. The award is presented to one Georgia peanut farmer based upon the applicant’s overall farm operation; environmental and stewardship practices; and leadership and community service activities. Branch, a third-generation farmer, operates a 1,500 acre diversified row crop operation including peanuts, cotton, corn, soybeans and wheat as well as a custom harvesting enterprise.

On the farm, Branch strives to keep up-to-date with ag technology which enables him to be more efficient. To remain sustainable, Branch has constructed terraces on land that is highly erodible and constructed grass waterways to manage water and prevent soil erosion. He takes a proactive approach to educate the public regarding the practices he implements on the farm to preserve land, soil and water through farm tours.

Branch is also active in the agricultural industry and his community. He is president of the Appling County Young Farmers and serves as the South Region Junior Director for the Georgia Young Farmers Association. He is also active with the Appling County Farm Bureau and serves on the Appling County High School Agriculture Department Advisory Committee. Branch receives a sign to display at his farm and a trip to the Southern Peanut Growers Conference in July.

Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmers of the Year District Winners: (left to right) Matt Cato, Agri Supply; District 1 - John Bridges Sr., Brinson, Ga.; Tim Burch, GPC board member from Baker County; District 2 - Ken Hall Sr., Ty Ty, Ga.; Armond Morris, GPC chairman from Irwinville, Ga.; District 3 - Jon Burns, Newington, Ga.; Joe Boddiford, GPC board member from Sylvania, Ga.; District 4 - Richard Nutt, Pitts, Ga.; Rodney Dawson, GPC board member from Hawkinsville, Ga.; District 5 - Glen Lee Chase, Oglethorpe, Ga.; and Donald Chase, GPC board member from Oglethorpe, Ga.

Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmers of the Year District Winners: (left to right) Matt Cato, Agri Supply; District 1 – John Bridges Sr., Brinson, Ga.; Tim Burch, GPC board member from Baker County; District 2 – Ken Hall Sr., Ty Ty, Ga.; Armond Morris, GPC chairman from Irwinville, Ga.; District 3 – Jon Burns, Newington, Ga.; Joe Boddiford, GPC board member from Sylvania, Ga.; District 4 – Richard Nutt, Pitts, Ga.; Rodney Dawson, GPC board member from Hawkinsville, Ga.; District 5 – Glen Lee Chase, Oglethorpe, Ga.; and Donald Chase, GPC board member from Oglethorpe, Ga.

In addition to the Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award, the Georgia Peanut Commission and Agri Supply presented the Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmers of the Year Award to individuals representing each of the commission’s five districts. The GPC board members started this award to honor farmers each year who have the passion, diligence, leadership and desire to see the peanut industry in the state of Georgia continue to be the highest quality. Winners include: District 1 – John Bridges Sr., Brinson; District 2 – Kenneth Hall Sr., Tifton; District 3 – Rep. Jon Burns, Newington; District 4 – Richard Nutt, Pitts; and District 5 – Glen Lee Chase, Oglethorpe. These farmers received a sign to display at their farm and a $100 gift card from Agri Supply.

At the close of the day, the presentation of the Grand Door Prize package donated by Kelley Manufacturing Co. was presented to Aaron Cosby of Smithville, Georgia, and Alex Hardy of Hawkinsville, Georgia. Cosby received one season’s use of a new six-row KMC peanut combine and the option of purchasing the combine from a KMC dealer with $15,000 off the list price at the end of the 2017 season. Hardy received one season’s use of a new digger shaker inverter and the option of purchasing the peanut digger from a KMC dealer with 10 percent off the list price at the end of the 2017 season.

Amadas Industries also provided the Grower Door Prize to Al Rowland of Wrightsville, Georgia. Rowland received one season’s use of a new Amadas four-row or six-row peanut digger or a certificate good for the amount of $10,000 towards the purchase of a new Amadas self-propelled combine or $5,000 towards the purchase of any new Amadas pull-type peanut combine.

For photos and additional information on the Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference visit the Georgia Peanut Commission website at gapeanuts.com.

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Jan/Feb 2017 Southeastern Peanut Farmer

The Jan/Feb 2017 issue of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer is now available online.
Click here!

sepf_janfeb2017_cvrwebThis issue features:

  • Peanut Variety Guidebook
  • Peanut plant collection – A national treasure
  • Peanut Leadership Academy begins Class X
  • Kelley Manufacturing Co. celebrates 50 years
  • Special Review of the 41st annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show
  • Check off reports from the state grower organizations
  • Legislative Update
  • Southern Peanut Growers Update
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Mississippi Peanut Growers Association annual meeting set for Jan. 25-26, 2017

MPGAlogo_rgbThe Mississippi Peanut Growers Association plan to hold their annual meeting and trade show Jan. 25-26, 2017, on the campus of Mississippi State University in Bost Building B. The event provides growers with the latest information on peanut production, research and new products.
Growers will have the opportunity to visit with several exhibitors showcasing equipment and services for the peanut industry.
Speakers during the annual meeting will provide an update on Mississippi State University, agronomic practices, the peanut grading system, peanut herbicides, peanut market outlook for 2017, managing foliar and soil-borne diseases as well as managing thrips and defoliating caterpillars. Growers will also hear reports on checkoff activities of MPGA and the National Peanut Board.

View 2017 Meeting Agenda

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National Peanut Board elects 2017 officers

2017 NPB Officers

National Peanut Board 2017 officers are (l-r) Greg Gill, Arkansas, vice-chairman; Ed White, Alabama, chairman; Peter Froese Jr., Texas, secretary; and Dan Ward, North Carolina, treasurer.

Ed White, a peanut farmer from Headland, Ala. was elected chairman of the 12-member National Peanut Board on Dec. 7 during the Board’s quarterly meeting in Washington, D.C. White, who is the Alabama member and recently served as the Board’s 2016 vice-chairman, will begin his one-year term Jan. 1.

“It’s quite an honor that my fellow board members had enough faith in me to elect me as chairman,” White says. “I look forward to playing a key role in advancing the board’s mission of   improving grower economics through funding compelling research and   increasing consumer consumption of peanuts.”

National Peanut Board also elected Greg Gill of Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, as vice-chairman; Dan Ward of Clarkton, North Carolina, as treasurer; and Peter Froese Jr. of Seminole, Texas, as secretary. These officers will serve one-year terms beginning Jan. 1.

USDA officially instated new and reappointed board members and alternates, who will begin three-year terms Jan. 1. Board members sworn in were Greg Gill, Arkansas, Jim Chandler, New Mexico and Les Crall, Oklahoma. Alternates sworn in were Greg Baltz, Arkansas, Karen Jackson, New Mexico and Gayle White, Oklahoma. Gayle White is NPB’s immediate past-chairman.

National Peanut Board would like to recognize outgoing board member Wayne Baker, New Mexico, and thank him for his years of service to the peanut industry.

For more information on the National Peanut Board, visit their website at nationalpeanutboard.org.

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Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference set for Thursday, Jan. 19

fsconflogoProducers can improve the bottom-line of their farming operation with knowledge, connections and information gained at the 41st annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference, held at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center, Jan. 19, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Peanut farmers and those involved in the peanut industry will be able to learn more about the latest products, services and peanut research at the 2017 Georgia Peanut Farm Show and Conference. The show is sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission.

During this year’s show, Kelley Manufacturing Co. is providing the Grand Door Prize Package of one season’s use of a new six-row peanut combine. At the end of the 2017 season the winner has the option of purchasing the combine from a KMC dealer with $15,000 off the list price. Also, KMC is providing a second drawing for one season’s use of a new Digger Shaker Inverter (choice of a two-row, four-row, six-row or Flex model). At the end of the 2017 season, the winner has the option of purchasing the peanut digger from an authorized KMC dealer with 10 percent off the list price.

Additionally, farmers can register to win the Grower Prize, donated by Amadas Industries. This prize is the choice of one season’s use of a new Amadas four-row or six-row peanut digger/inverter or a certificate good for the amount of $10,000 towards the purchase of a new Amadas self-propelled combine or $5,000 towards the purchase of a new four-row or six-row Amadas pull-type combine.

The winners of the Grand Door Prize and the Grower Prize must be certified peanut farmers with an FSA farm number.

The one-day show offers farmers a full day to view the products and services of more than 100 exhibitors and a day of education. A free luncheon begins at noon for all peanut farmers in attendance. The Georgia Peanut Commission will present a short program beginning at 12:15 p.m. that will cover award presentations and an update from National Peanut Board and Washington. The University of Georgia will present an educational peanut production seminar from 9:00 until 10:30 a.m. with a special focus on irrigation management.

An Industry Seed Seminar will also be held from 10:35 to 11:35 a.m. during the show. This event is sponsored by the American Peanut Shellers Association, Southern Peanut Farmers Federation and the Georgia Peanut Commission. Growers will be able to learn about seed quality and quantity for 2017, peanut varieties available for 2017 and on the horizon, production advice and the peanut genomic initiative.

Farmers will also have the opportunity to earn credit towards their private or commercial pesticide applicators certification.

The Georgia Peanut Commission, in cooperation with One Blood, will hold a blood drive from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the UGA Tifton Campus Conference Center during the show.

At the close of the day, the presentation of the Grand Door Prize donated by KMC will be presented to one lucky peanut grower. For more information on the show, contact GPC at 229-386-3470 or online at www.gapeanuts.com.

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