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Growers Invest in Shelling Plants n Irrigation Guidebook n Tour Educates Congressional Staff n

A communication service of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation.

Contents May/June 2016


Joy Carter Crosby Editor 229-386-3690 Director of Advertising Jessie Bland

Contributing Writers John Leidner Teresa Mays

Southeastern Peanut Farmer P.O. Box 706, Tifton, Ga. 31793 445 Fulwood Blvd., Tifton, Ga. 31794 ISSN: 0038-3694

Southeastern Peanut Farmer is published six times a year (Jan./Feb., March, April, May/June, July/Aug., and Oct./Nov.) by the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation. The publisher is not responsible for copy omission, typographical errors, or any unintentional errors that may occur, other than to correct it in the following issue. Any erroneous reflection which may occur in the columns of Southeastern Peanut Farmer will be corrected upon brought to the attention of the editor. (Phone 229-3863690.)

Postmaster: Send address changes (Form 3579) to Southeastern Peanut Farmer, P.O. Box 706, Tifton, Georgia, 31793. Circulation is free to qualified peanut growers and others allied to the industry. Periodical postage paid at Tifton, Georgia and additional mailing office.

Editorial Content: Editorial copy from sources outside of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation is sometimes presented for the information and interest of our members. Such material may, or may not, coincide with official Southern Peanut Farmers Federation policies. Publication of material does not necessarily imply its endorsement by the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation. For editorial concerns call 229-386-3690. No portion of this or past issues of the Southeastern Peanut Farmer may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the written consent of the editor. By-lined articles appearing in this publication represent views of the authors and not necessarily those of the publisher.

Advertising: The Publisher reserves the right to refuse any advertisement. Corrections to advertisements must be made after the first run. All billing offers subject to credit review. Advertisements contained in this publication do not represent an endorsement by the Southeastern Peanut Farmer or the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation. Use of trade names in this publication is for the purpose of providing specific information and is not a guarantee nor warranty of products named. For advertising concerns call 229-386-3690.


Growers invest in shelling plants

Three grower-owned shelling plants are now in operation across the peanut belt in Georgia. The plants were started to help stablize the market and provide long-term sustainability for the peanut industry.

2016 Irrigation Guidebook

The 2016 Southeastern Peanut Farmer’s Irrigation Guidebook features information on new tools for managing irrigation, furrow irrigation tips, SmartCrop sensors and irrigation scheduling methods.


Congressional staff tour

The Southern Peanut Farmers Federation held an educational tour for congressional staff members recently in Alabama. The tour allowed the staff members to see first-hand how peanuts are grown and learn more about the entire peanut production process.

Departments: Checkoff Report .................................................................................. 8 Alabama Peanut Producers Association, Florida Peanut Producers Association, Georgia Peanut Commission and Mississippi Peanut Growers Association

Washington Outlook ............................................................................ 20 Southern Peanut Growers Update ........................................................ 22 Cover Photo: Adam McLendon of McLendon Acres is growing some 3,200 acres of peanuts this year and manages 92 center pivot irrigation systems for his crops. Photo by Joy Crosby.

May/June 2016 Southeastern Peanut Farmer




Calendar of Events

Being First

hat’s it like being first? Sometimes it may be scary or even have its advantages or disadvantages. That depends on how all you first-born children feel. What about being first in taking on a new endeavor that could potentially change the peanut industry? Well that’s what a group of farmers in Southwest Georgia did fifteen years ago when they met to form a grower-owned shelling plant. Little did they know that years later there would be two more grower owned plants. The beginning may have been a little scary but the end result, I’m sure, is one of satisfaction for trying something new and making it work. Maybe you have been the first to try something on the farm in your county or the first one to grow a certain crop not commonly grown in your area. Many farmers through the years have been leaders at doing such things and paving the way for other farmers. Some farmers are even the first ones to step up to volunteer for large-scale research projects with university researchers or Extension agents in their area. By doing so, they are helping to find new solutions to problems or new methods for production practices. One example you can read about on page 10 highlights the University of Georgia’s Smart Sensor Array research for scheduling irrigation at McLendon Acres in Calhoun County. Adam McLendon is allowing researchers to conduct a large-scale test of their soil moisture sensors in the field. The researchers are used to working in small plots but by having the ability to conduct research on a large-scale farm, this may open up more answers to how this could benefit farmers in the future. As long as I can remember, I have witnessed farmers being the “first” to try new things and experiment. Sometimes it may be creating a new tool or modifying an existing piece of equipment. Ideas that manufacturers have today for peanut harvest equipment have often come from farmers asking questions and letting the manufacturers know what works or doesn’t work. Farmers have many opportunities from July to September to attend field days in their area where they can learn about the latest research or new products and services being offered by companies. Sometimes this may be the first step a farmer needs to obtain a new idea or a new method to try at his or her farm. I encourage you to take the time and attend the events that are located close to you so you can learn and even share what you have learned with other beginning farmers in your area. So, being first isn’t always bad. It may be scary at times but sometimes the win, recognition or benefit of knowing that you made a difference far outweighs the losses you may have. So, I encourage you this growing season to ask questions, stay informed, try something new because you never know who may be listening or learning from your example. t

u USA Peanut Congress, June 25-29, 2016, Charleston Place Hotel, Charleston, S.C. For more information visit or call 229-888-2508.

u American Peanut Research Education Society Annual Meeting, July 12-14, 2016, Hilton Clearwater Beach, Clearwater, Fla. For more information visit or call 229-329-2949.

u Sunbelt Ag Expo Field Day, July 14, 2016, Moultrie, Ga. For more information visit or call 229-985-1968. u Southern Peanut Growers Conference, July 21-23, 2016, Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Miramar Beach, Fla. For more information visit or call 229-386-3470.

u American Peanut Shellers Association and National Peanut Buying Points Association Pre-Harvest Meeting, Aug. 2-3, 2016, Lake Blackshear Resort and Golf Club, Cordele, Ga. For more information visit or call 229-888-2508.

u Brooklet Peanut Festival, Aug. 20, 2016. For more information visit the festival’s website at u Georgia Peanut Tour, Sept. 13-15, 2016, Tifton, Ga. and surrounding area. For more information visit the tour blog at

u Plains Peanut Festival, Sept. 24, 2016. For more information visit

u Central Florida Peanut Festival, Oct. 1, 2016, Williston, Fla. For more information visit

u Georgia Peanut Festival, Oct. 15, 2016, Sylvester, Ga. For more information visit

u Sunbelt Ag Expo, Oct. 18-20, 2016, Moultrie, Ga. For more information visit or call 229-985-1968.

Joy Carter Crosby 4

Southeastern Peanut Farmer May/June 2016


u Georgia Farm Bureau Annual Meeting, Dec. 3-5, 2016, Jekyll Island, Ga. For more information visit (Let us know about your event. Please send details to the editor at

Sunbelt Ag Expo Field Day set for July 14


re you a farmer, county agent, ag advisor or involved in agribusiness? Are you looking for the latest and most significant agricultural research and technology? Well look no further. The Sunbelt Expo Field Day is scheduled for July 14, 2016, at the Darrell Williams Research Farm, located at the Expo show site. “Growers should take time to attend the field day so they can see firsthand what’s new or learn more about a technology that’s been out for awhile but might not have benefited their operation until now,” says Michael Chafin, Expo farm manager. “With low commodity prices, we are all looking for the most efficient and economical farming practices that will produce the highest yields with the lowest inputs.” Field day attendees will hear presentations from University researchers, company representatives and crop specialists covering issues, topics and crops specific to the Southeast. These

presentations will include soil fertility, pest management, including insect/weed management and new pesticide technologies, water management and irrigation technology, cotton, peanut, corn and soybean seed varieties. The University of Georgia Peanut Team is conducting a trial at the Sunbelt Expo’s Darrell Williams Research Farm to determine effectiveness of a plant growth regulator (Apogee) on the current peanut cultivars commercially available. The cultivar trial in 2016 is evaluating the response of ten cultivars in single-row pattern to applications of Apogee. In a hope to lessen the negative impact on yield, a reduced rate of Apogee is being evaluated. Registration begins at 7:15 a.m. and is free for anyone involved in agriculture and agribusiness. Each registrant will receive a complimentary Expo hat and will be registered to win prizes, including a Brown Rotary Mower 416 from Brown Manufacturing Co., a gift certificate from Titan Tire/Goodyear valued at $250 and a

Visitors at Sunbelt Ag Expo Field Day on July 14 will be able to see crop demonstrations and examine research trials by the University of Georgia Peanut Team.

shotgun provided by all participating seed and chemical companies. There will be a complimentary biscuit breakfast and trams will depart at 8:00 a.m. The tours will conclude by noon with a BBQ sack lunch. The Sunbelt Ag Expo is located southeast of Moultrie, Georgia, on Georgia Highway 133. For additional information on the field day, visit or call 229-985-1968. t

May/June 2016 Southeastern Peanut Farmer



ifteen years have passed since growers in Southwest Georgia decided to join together to form the first grower-owned shelling plant. Now, in 2016 the third grower owned shelling plant, Premium Peanut LLC, has officially opened for business. Premium Peanut was formed in the fall of 2014, with more than 200 grower owners and seven buying points. Following a year of construction in Douglas, Georgia, the plant began shelling peanuts in 2015. Premium Peanut held their official ribbon cutting and open house April 22, 2016. Approximately 400 shareholders, dignitaries, community supporters and guests came out to help the company celebrate. “We have more than 200 dedicated grower owners. They are not just growing

peanuts for us,” says Karl Zimmer, president and CEO of Premium Peanut LLC. “They own shares in the company and they are invested in the future of the company.” According to Kent Fountain, chairman of the board at Premium Peanut, the shelling plant will always have a steady supply of 140,000 tons of peanuts year in and year out. The company has spent a great deal of time and effort to develop export markets to Europe, South America and Asia. At Premium Peanut, if a grower purchased shares in the company, they must grow and deliver farmerstock peanuts. This helped promote broad ownership in the company, Zimmer adds. “This also helps ensure visibility and stability throughout the supply chain, and is in-line with one of our objectives, which is to help stabilize the market for

South Georgia producers.” Stabilizing the market is just one reason growers such as Elton Brooks decided to invest in Premium Peanut. “I chose to invest in Premium Peanut because it means a lot to our area as far as jobs and the economy, as well as the peanut farmers. It helps to stabilize the acres and prices so we can plan for the future a lot better,” Brooks says. In addition to stability, growers who formed the first grower-owned shelling plant, American Peanut Growers Group LLC (APGG), wanted to make sure they didn’t lose their voice in the peanut market which they feared could happen after the change of the peanut program in 2002 and the loss of the quota program. “Growers wanted to stay connected to the market they supplied,” says Terry Shamblin, president and CEO of APGG. “The original organizers and members felt

American Peanut Growers Group

Tifton Quality Peanuts

Premium Peanut

Formed in 2003 Shells 20 farmer stock tons per hour Plant capacity: 120,000 tons annually 10 Buying Points 78 grower members in 13 Southwest Georgia counties and one Florida county


Formed in 2005 Shells 26 farmer stock tons per hour Plant capacity: 135,000 tons annually 8 Buying Points 140 grower members in 24 Georgia counties and Florida

Southeastern Peanut Farmer May/June 2016

Formed in 2015 Shells 30 farmer stock tons per hour Plant capacity: 200,000 tons annually 7 Buying Points 200 grower members in Southeast Georgia

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal (center) cuts the ribbon at the ceremony officially recognizing Premium Peanut LLC as the newest grower owned shelling plant. He is joined at the ribbon cutting ceremony by staff, shareholders and supporters of Premium Peanut on April 22, 2016, in Douglas, Ga.

by concentrating on good quality, highly irrigated peanuts, coupled with the newest cleaning and shelling technology, their peanuts would be desired by manufacturers.” APGG is equipped to shell 20 farmer stock tons per hour, running five days per week, 24 hours per day. According to Shamblin, the plant handles approximately 110,000 to 120,000 tons annually. The majority of the sales at APGG are domestic with 15 to 20 percent being exported to more than 30 different countries worldwide. In addition to being the first grower-owned shelling plant, APGG is also the first to use solar power to dry their peanuts. The buying point located at the shelling plant has 400 KW solar systems on the drying shed rooftops and a megawatt freestanding system of approximately six acres. These improvements have allowed the company to also be efficient at sustaining and conserving energy. Long-term sustainability was a key reason for beginning Tifton Quality Peanuts LLC (TQP) as well. “Due to the volatility associated with farming and the ever increasing input costs, farmers realized the need and advantages to vertically integrating their operations in order to improve long-term

sustainability,” says Bill Park, president and CEO of TQP. TQP began in 2005 with 140 grower members in 24 Georgia counties and Florida. There are eight buying points supplying peanuts to TQP. Massive domes used for peanut storage are found at TQP. This is different than storage methods used at APGG and Premium Peanut. There are three domes on site which hold approximately 13,000 tons each. In addition to the shelling plant, TQP added a blanching facility in the fall of 2015. They only blanch peanuts that come through their sheller, and Park estimates they will blanch around 30,000 farmerstock tons this year (40 to 45 million pounds of blanched peanuts). All three of the shelling plants are very similar in the fact that growers invested in the capital investment, must guarantee a certain quantity of peanuts to the shelling plants and the plants are the only new 5th generation LMC-designed shelling facilities. At Premium Peanut, each of the seven buying points provided capital up-front to enable the project to get off the ground. Once shares were sold to growers, the buying points were reimbursed. The plant also received funding from AgSouth and a New Markets Tax Credit from the U.S.

Treasury Department. At APGG, growers invested approximately $4.5 million along with a mixture of county-backed revenue bonds, low interest loans, One Georgia loan and a USDA Value-Added Producer Grant. Members of TQP contributed $6 million. Additional financing came from the Tift County Development Authority and local banks. Future plans for grower-owned shelling plants in Georgia or across the Southeast could potentially mean more economic growth in terms of additional jobs and added value for peanut growers choosing to participate. However, Shamblin cautions individuals on the committment it takes. “It’s hard to do and takes quite a commitment for growers to invest money and agree to stay committed to delivering their crops every year, especially given the economic woes in agriculture today,” Shamblin says. According to Park, being part of a grower owned shelling plant allows the grower to focus on yields and production and less on storage and marketing. “The biggest plus is that the grower is now able to capture the profit from contracting the peanuts as well as the profit that they would have otherwise lost to the sheller,” Park says. t


May/June 2016 Southeastern Peanut Farmer


Checkoff Report

Investments Made by Growers for the Future of the Peanut Industry. Georgia Peanut Commission exhibits at the Georgia School Nutrition Association annual meeting

The Georgia Peanut Commission attended the Georgia School Nutrition Association’s annual meeting April 14-16 in Savannah, Georgia, to educate nutrition personnel about peanuts and peanut butter and promote consumption in schools across the state. In the culinary competition, GPC sponsored a peanut recipe contest recognizing GSNA members who developed new peanut and peanut butter quantity recipes to be used in Georgia schools for breakfast, lunch and snacks. GPC also sponsored a peanut usage award given to the school system with the highest per capita consumption The Georgia Peanut Commission of peanuts and peanut butter. presents Grady County with the peanut usage award during the The first place winners in Georgia School Nutrition Association each category include: Breakfast annual meeting. Pictured left to right: Kathy Brown, South Douglas Marcus Evans, GPC; Becky Carroll, Elementary in Douglasville; Lunch Grady County School nutrition - Julia Thomas, Bright Star bookkeeper and Vanessa Hayes, president of GSNA. Elementary in Douglasville; Snack - Carol Winters, Treutlen High School in Soperton. In the peanut usage contest, Grady County School System was named the winner for having the highest per capita consumption of peanuts and peanut butter at more than 700 pounds.

GPC partners with Georgia Grown Trail: 41

The Georgia Peanut Commission attended the ribbon cutting and sign unveiling of the new Georgia Grown Trail: 41 on April 5, at the Fruits of Vienna B&B in Vienna, Georgia. The new trail is dedicated to the promotion, preservation and development of regional agritourism along U.S. Highway 41 throughout a 12 county corridor in South Georgia. The trail covers miles of family farms, farm to table restaurants, lodging, “you pick” farms and establishments promoting Georgia’s agricultural history. GPC has been a member of the trail since 2014 and is excited to continue to partner with other area organizations to promote agritourism in South Georgia.

GPC exhibits at ag day events in Georgia

The Georgia Peanut Commission continues to educate children about peanuts and the nutritional benefits of adding peanuts and peanut butter to their diet by exhibiting or providing materials to ag day events across the state. This past spring, GPC has promoted peanuts at ag days in Appling, Atkinson, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bibb, Colquitt, Crisp, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Lamar, McDuffie, Montgomery, Randolph and White county.


Southeastern Peanut Farmer May/June 2016

APPA sponsors March for Babies children events

Youngsters of all ages, along with their parents, enjoyed a special children’s area at the annual March of Dimes’ March for Babies event held in Mobile, Alabama, April 30, 2016. Sponsored each year by the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, the Kids Activities tent offers a place for children to play games, win prizes, make peanut arts and crafts, and grab a packet of Alabama Debbie Freeland (left) of Grand Bay, Ala., and member of the Alabama peanuts along with Farmers Federation Women’s educational brochures on Committee passes out agriculture the health benefits of coloring books to a child and his peanuts. mother who visited the Kids Activities This year’s event was tent at the walk. held at the Geri Moulton Children’s Park, located in front of University of South Alabama Children’s and Women’s Hospital. March for Babies is held yearly in 1,100 communities across the nation. More than 7 million people, including more than 20,000 company and family teams as well as national sponsors, participate in the event that has raised more than $2 billion since 1970. Funds raised are used toward research that focuses on the prevention of premature births, birth defects and infant mortality. Every year, more than half a million babies are born prematurely and more than 120,000 are born with serious birth defects in the United States.

APPA exhibits at Kids Day in Blount County

More than 800 second graders recently attended the annual “Kids Day on the Farm,” held at the Blount County-Oneonta Agribusiness Center in Oneonta, Alabama. The children were educated on current and past farming practices, including how to grow peanuts. Representatives from the Alabama Peanut Producers Association displayed several products made from peanuts, as well Blount County, Ala., as a large 8’x10’ backdrop of a peanut producers Lance peanut field. As a highlight, students Miller (far left) and his were able to have their picture made wife, Stephanie (far right) in front of the mural, which gave the with teacher Jill Crumpton and her class from impression they were actually Hayden Primary School. standing in a peanut field.

Reports from the: Alabama Peanut Producers Association Florida Peanut Producers Association Georgia Peanut Commission Mississippi Peanut Growers Association Florida Agriculture Literacy Day highligted at Cabinet Meeting

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam recognized Florida Agriculture Literacy day at a recent Cabinet meeting at the State Capitol in Tallahassee, which was also the day of the elementary school reading event across the state. The Commissioner was joined at the Cabinet meeting by Governor Rick Scott and other Cabinet Governor of Florida Rick Scott members, along with home school students from the and Cabinet members Adam Tallahassee area and board members and staff of Putnam, Commissioner of Florida Ag in the Classroom. Agriculture, Jeff Atwater, CFO “Florida Ag Literacy Day is a fun and entertaining and Pam Bondi, Attorney General, recognize Ag Literacy Day along way to bring agriculture into the classroom,” says with home school students from Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam. “It is the Tallahassee area and Florida important to educate Florida’s next generation on where Ag in the Classroom board our food comes from and how important the agriculture members and staff. industry is to all of us.” Hundreds of Florida farmers, growers, ranchers, Florida Farm Bureau, FFA students and teachers, 4-H students and parents, University of Florida IFAS extension agents and master gardeners and other agriculture representatives read in classrooms across the state to honor the event. The volunteer readers visited 3,000 elementary school classrooms sharing the message of the importance of Florida agriculture to more than 70,000 Florida students in 54 counties around the state. “Florida Agriculture Literacy Day has grown in popularity among teachers, the volunteers who read during the event and the students, because it provides a fun way to connect students with information about agriculture,” says Ken Barton executive director of the Florida Peanut Producers Association and immediate past chairman of Florida Agriculture in the Classroom.

MPGA teams up with high school football radio show

The Mississippi Peanut Growers Association teamed up with “Friday Night Under the Lights” radio show to promote peanuts in the schools during the 15 weeks of the 2015 football season across the state. This was the third season for this promotion with FNUTL. The MPGA received commercial air time on 11 radio stations covering most of the state with 45 radio advertisements, sponsoring the “Perfectly Powerful Peanut” Game of the Week The Mississippi Peanut as a co-promotion with the National Peanut Board (NPB). The Growers set up an MPGA set up an educational exhibit at the football games exhibit at 11 football distributing peanut educational literature from The Peanut games throughout the 2015 season. Institute on peanuts and diabetes, school snacks and hearthealthy peanuts. During the 2015 promotion, the show covered 11 games involving 22 high schools that aired live on the FNUTL website. As part of the promotion, Malcolm Broome, MPGA executive director, was interviewed live during half-time. A banner ad was displayed at 126 high schools in Mississippi. FNTUL provided MPGA with data showing 900,000 people participated in the program by calling into the show and viewing the website,, and the field videos of peanut harvest.

FPPA exhibits at Fresh From Florida Weekend at Epcot

Florida Peanut Producers Association and other members of the “Fresh From Florida” promotion campaign returned to Epcot again this year for the Fresh From Florida Weekend during the International Flower and Garden Festival, which runs from March through May. The Fresh From Florida Weekend is an annual three-day event hosted by Disney at Epcot in Orlando and the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The Florida Peanut Producers Association exhibited at the Fresh From Florida Weekend and provided peanut growing seed kits, recipe cards, health and nutrition brochures. FPPA also had live peanut plants that were blooming and pegging on display for the attendees.

Sherry Saunders, FPPA, distributes recipes, seed kits and informational brochures at the Fresh From Florida Weekend at Epcot.

Ken Barton, FPPA executive director, visits with attendees at the Fresh From Florida Weekend at Epcot.

“This is a great opportunity for us to visit with thousands of Disney attendees and share the healthful message of peanuts and peanut products and the importance of the economic impact that peanut production has on the state,” says Ken Barton, FPPA executive director. The event allows farmers, ranchers and commodity organizations to share the message of Florida agriculture to thousands at Disney.

May/June 2016 Southeastern Peanut Farmer




Cool tools for managing irrigation


Adam McLendon of the McLendon Acres farm is growing some 3,200 acres of peanuts this year. A big reason for his success in growing peanuts and other crops is his extensive use of center pivot irrigation. He’s responsible for managing 92 center pivot systems on farms located in Calhoun, Baker and Randolph counties of Georgia. While some of these pivots are new, others have been in place for 25 or more years. McLendon is a young farmer. He’s focused on efficiency. For instance, all but a handful of his pivots operate on electric power that is lower in cost than diesel fuel. His only pivots that still operate on diesel are located in isolated areas far from electric power lines. Variable rate water application is one of the tools he uses to make irrigation more efficient. He says, “My dad, Marty McLendon, was in the forefront of testing and adopting variable rate irrigation, and he’s still involved in running the farm.” The McLendons are saving tremendous amounts of water when their pivots automatically shut off water application over non-cropped areas. “So far, we’ve installed variable rate technology on six of our pivots,” McLendon says. “The cost of variable rate irrigation is such that we cannot convert all of the systems over to variable rate irrigation immediately. But we will gradually add it to our center pivot systems.” In deciding where to install variable rate irrigation, he first selects fields with large pivots covering about 250 acres each. He also places a priority on using


Adam McLendon is responsible for managing 92 center pivot irrigation systems on farms located in Calhoun, Baker and Randolph counties of Georgia.

variable rate irrigation in fields that have a significant amount of non-cropped land beneath the pivots. As time goes on, he’ll begin adding variable rate irrigation to fields with different soil types. The water holding capacity of soils will help determine the locations of various irrigation management zones under a pivot. He says the basic idea is to apply more water to sandy soils and less water to clay soils that hold more water. Variable rate application has already made a big difference in how McLendon farms. For instance, before using variable rate irrigation, it took a long time for the largest pivots to complete a circle. As a result, he would plant two different crops under a large pivot. Converting to variable rate application allows the large pivots to more efficiently apply water where it’s needed, complete the circle

Southeastern Peanut Farmer May/June 2016

faster, and that now allows the planting of the same crop—either all corn, or all cotton or all peanuts under the largest pivots. It’s important for McLendon to evaluate new irrigation technology, so in 2015, he provided land for a large-scale test of the University of Georgia’s Smart Sensor Array for scheduling irrigation. This test was conducted by ag engineer George Vellidis, Extension irrigation specialist Wesley Porter and their colleagues. “They had 23 of their soil moisture sensors in this field,” McLendon says. “We learned a lot about their irrigation technology. They’re used to working in small plots, and here they learned how the technology they’re developing can work on a large-scale farm.” “I believe in the Smart Sensor Array

Adam McLendon utilizes variable rate irrigation, Irrigator Pro and has assisted the University of Georgia with a large-scale test of the Smart Sensor Array for scheduling irrigation. McLendon also uses the AgSense mobile app (pictured right) to monitor and control his pivots from remote locations by using his cell phone.

for scheduling irrigation, and we’re adding another field for this project this year,” McLendon says. He says he doesn’t know the exact cost of the Smart Sensor Array, but believes it is too costly to adopt now on a large scale. The main tool for scheduling irrigation at McLendon Acres is Irrigator Pro. It was developed at the USDA’s National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, Georgia. “Irrigator Pro is a proven system and it is a low cost system,” McLendon says. “We’ve moved from hiring a consultant to run Irrigator Pro to running it ourselves.” Irrigator Pro for peanuts is a computer-based program. To run the program and receive a recommendation on whether to irrigate, farmers collect data from soil thermometers and rain gauges in their fields. McLendon says this is important because it gets farmers out into their fields where they may find other problems besides irrigation that need to be addressed.

McLendon also uses Irrigator Pro to schedule irrigation for his cotton and corn crops. The cotton and corn versions require farmers to collect moisture readings from soil sensors. This past growing season, McLendon also used a new web-based version of Irrigator Pro for peanuts. The USDA Agricultural Research Service is planning to introduce the new web-based versions of Irrigator Pro this year. One of the newest tools McLendon is using for managing irrigation is the AgSense cell phone app. With it, he can monitor and control his pivots from remote locations by using his cell phone. The AgSense company specializes in remote management of irrigation. The company is majority-owned by the parent company of Valley Irrigation. The new AgSense app will essentially replace the company’s earlier WagNet app. McLendon is using AgSense on eight of his center pivot systems this year. He’s also planning to expand his use of

AgSense to additional pivots. The advantage of AgSense is it can save a lot of travel time spent to monitor pivots. “It’s great to be able to turn your pivot off and on with your cell phone,” McLendon says, “but you still need to get out into your fields to see how your crops are growing.” At any one time, up to 50 of the 92 pivots could be operating on the farms of McLendon Acres. “We have managers at four locations who report to me and my dad,” McLendon says. “Their last job before they go home for the day is to go out and check on the pivots. The AgSense app lets us do this remotely, and it tells us if there is a problem.” These alerts can save a lot of water that would otherwise be wasted, according to McLendon. “Technology has come a long way,” he says, “and we’ve become much more efficient in farming.” t


May/June 2016 Southeastern Peanut Farmer


Furrow irrigation tips for peanuts


Irrigation Guidebook

s farmers in the Mississippi Delta are learning to use furrow irrigation on peanuts, Mississippi State University researcher and Extension irrigation specialist, Jason Krutz, is working to come up with recommendations that will lead to more efficient irrigation and higher peanut yields. Furrow irrigation, like other types of flood irrigation, works best in flat fields such as those in the Mississippi Delta. Krutz estimates that about 80 percent of the irrigation in the Delta is with furrow irrigation. He says the silt loam soils in the Delta tend to be low in organic matter and high in silt, and this combination can result in reduced water infiltration and what Krutz calls “hidden” drought stress. For the best results with furrow irrigation, Krutz advises farmers to use soil sensors to help determine when to start watering their crops. Computerized hole selection for the pipes releasing water in the row furrows will also pay off, according to Krutz. The main advantages of computerized hole selection are faster irrigation and savings in fuel use. He also recommends the use of surge valves to help control tailwater runoff. “Surge valves reduce runoff, improve water infiltration, decrease deep percolation losses and can improve

overall application efficiency by 25 percent,” Krutz says. In his tests on peanut irrigation scheduling, Krutz used soil tensiometer type sensors and started irrigating when the sensors showed readings of 50, 75 or 100 centibars. He believes such sensors will help farmers determine the rooting depth of their crops, and determine the time before starting the next irrigation. After conducting these tests in 2015, Krutz concluded excessive furrow irrigation did not adversely affect disease pressure or peanut yields. The plots with the excessive irrigation received 65 inches of irrigation water. He found starting irrigation when the

sensors read 100 centibars was best for both peanut yields and water use efficiency. He compared the sensor-based scheduling method with an atmosphericbased model based on estimates of crop water use and water evapotranspiration. Results showed the sensor-based system slightly outyielded the atmospheric-based system. “We’re still trying to determine whether it is best to furrow irrigate peanuts on every row or every other row,” Krutz says. So far, he has seen no statistical difference in yields of peanuts irrigated in every furrow vs. every other furrow. t BY JOHN LEIDNER

he use of surge valves may gain importance if Jason Krutz’s early tests on the application of a fungicide through furrow irrigation will pay off in healthier peanuts. Krutz is a researcher and Extension irrigation specialist who works from Stoneville, Mississippi. In his tests, the surge valve helped to meter out the fungicide after applying 2-1/2 to 3 acre-inches of irrigation water. He applied Abound with furrow irrigation at 60 and 90 days after emergence. Results from these plots were compared with plots sprayed by Abound at night and during the daytime at 60 and 90 days

after emergence. These plots were inoculated with Sclerotium rolfsii, the fungi that causes white mold or southern stem rot, and were treated with the Abound fungicide applied through the furrow irrigation water. Krutz notes that Abound is already labeled for application through center pivot systems to peanuts. In this test, neither irrigation alone nor the fungicide applied through the irrigation affected the number of white mold hits counted on the limbs or crowns of the peanut plants in the plots. There were no significant differences in yields for the plots in this test, though nighttime spraying of Abound produced

slightly higher yields than the furrow applications of Abound. Abound applied with furrow irrigation produced slightly better yields than Abound applied during daytime. Irrigation itself did pay off in this test. The irrigated plots outyielded the non-irrigated plots by about 2,000 pounds per acre. Krutz cautions that the application of fungicides through furrow irrigation for peanuts is still experimental, and results so far do not warrant a recommendation for such a production practice. t


Furrow irrigation, like other types of flood irrigation, works best in flat fields such as those in the Mississippi Delta.

Applying fungicides through furrow irrigation


Southeastern Peanut Farmer May/June 2016


SmartCrop sensors tested by Extension


Irrigation Guidebook

martCrop canopy temperature sensors are one of the irrigation scheduling methods tested by Extension irrigation specialist Wes Porter during the past two years. SmartCrop sensors are a Smartfield product that detect plant canopy temperatures. Plant canopy temperature shows a strong correlation with plant moisture stress, according to Porter. These sensors for canopy temperatures are less expensive than sensors that directly measure soil moisture. “The SmartCrop sensors are relatively cheap compared to other commercially available sensors,” Porter says. SmartCrop sensors measure crop canopy temperature by using an infrared thermometer. After the temperatures are collected, the data is relayed back to a base station. Porter notes the original scheduling recommendations were based on studies on the High Plains of Texas, and notes more studies are needed in the Southeast to determine if these sensors can be used for scheduling irrigation under more


Wes Porter, Extension irrigation specialist with UGA and Auburn University, has been testing SmartCrop sensors as an irrigation scheduling method during the past two years.

humid conditions. The Smartfield firm that distributes the SmartCrop sensors is based in Lubbock, Texas. Porter’s studies are aimed at identifying canopy temperature responses to changes in vapor pressure. He’s collecting data to help in calculating a crop water stress index for peanuts in the

Southeast. He adds, sensors such as the SmartCrop combined with variable rate irrigation, could be considered a form of precision irrigation. t BY JOHN LEIDNER

Rotation and irrigation on peanut yields

avid Wright, University of Florida agronomist says it costs about $150 per acre to irrigate peanuts. He reports on results of studies measuring the effects of crop rotation on peanut yields. He says rotating peanuts with two years of cotton produced yields of 6,500 pounds per acre in 2015, giving a $600 per acre profit. “The profit from this study was the same from irrigated as from non-irrigated peanuts,” Wright adds. Results from rotation were even better when peanuts were rotated with a grass sod such as bahiagrass. “With the sod rotation, the peanuts yielded 7,000 pounds per acre with the Georgia-06G variety, and our profits were $700 per acre,” Wright says. Wright reports that a sod-based crop rotation produced non-irrigated yields that were as good as irrigated yields of peanuts following two years of cotton.


University of Florida agronomist David Wright has been studying the benefits of crop rotation and irrigation on peanuts, which has been shown to improve yields.

Wright adds that the Georgia-06G variety seems to respond better to irrigation than other varieties. Irrigation improves yields by 25 to 30 percent in peanuts and cotton, according to Wright. However, other crops tend to

Southeastern Peanut Farmer May/June 2016

respond even better with higher yields. For instance, Wright says soybean yields can be increased 60 percent with irrigation and corn yields often improve by 100 percent with irrigation. t


Irrigation Guidebook

Watering up seedlings after planting

“We don’t recommended ‘watering up peanuts’,” says Scott Monfort, University of Georgia Extension peanut agronomist. By watering up peanuts, he’s referring to the practice some farmers use of planting peanuts in dry soil, applying herbicide and then applying irrigation water to provide the necessary moisture for germination and herbicide activation. He noted many farmers planted peanuts in May this past year when soil conditions were too hot and dry. “When they irrigated just after planting, the cold water from deep wells shocked the seed causing delayed germination and emergence,” he said. He notes this does not happen all the time; however last year, soil temperatures during the dry spell in May were above normal adding to the problem. To ensure this does not happen, it is recommended for growers to add moisture prior to planting for adequate germination and emergence and again after planting to

Watering up peanuts in this field in 2015 caused a one to two week gap in germination.

activate herbicides. Some of the problem seen in early stands last year may also be related to planting depth. Monfort would like to see peanut seed stay at two to two and a half inches deep in the soil. He says sensors

Your irrigation costs

on planting equipment may one day be helpful in assuring peanut seed is deposited into the soil at a uniform depth. t


Wesley Porter, Extension irrigation specialist for Georgia and Alabama, says average irrigation costs reached $9 per acre-inch of applied water in 2015. While that was the average, the actual cost varied depending on the energy source. For instance, Porter says average costs are only $6 per acre-inch for irrigation powered by electricity. That compares to $12 per acre-inch for irrigation powered by diesel fuel. If your irrigation costs are at the $9 per acre-inch average, and you irrigate 1,000 acres with ten inches of water during the growing season, then your costs for irrigation on the farm will total $90,000. t

Peanut water requirements


Peanuts require about 23 inches of water from planting until harvesting, according to Wesley Porter, Extension irrigation specialist for Georgia and Alabama. He says approximately 18 of the 23 inches of water will be needed during weeks 10 through 17 of a 20-week growing season. Porter says 78 percent of the total water used by peanuts is needed during weeks 10-17. It is critical not to water a uniform amount throughout the season. As the crop grows and develops, so does the water requirement. t


May/June 2016 Southeastern Peanut Farmer


Irrigation scheduling methods Irrigation Guidebook

Irrigator Pro

Irrigator Pro is a component of the Farmsuite software developed by the USDA-Agricultural Research Service. Irrigator Pro irrigation recommendations are based on more than 20 years of research conducted by scientists at the USDA’s National Peanut Research Laboratory at Dawson, Georgia. To use Irrigator Pro, farmers will enter standard field data such as planting date, variety, previous crop and soil type. Then, at 35 to 40 days after planting, a soil thermometer will be required to record daily minimum and maximum soil temperatures. Farmers will also need to record rainfall data. By entering this data twice per week, the Irrigator Pro software will provide a recommendation on whether or not to irrigate and when to check the temperatures again. Generally, the irrigation recommendations are made to maintain soil temperature and water in the optimum ranges. According to USDA scientists, yield increases of more than 300 pounds per acre and quality improvements of two percent in Sound Mature Kernels and Sound Splits are typical for users of Irrigator Pro. Based on the success of Irrigator Pro for peanuts, USDA developed comparable


PeanutFARM is a set of web-based tools designed to help peanut growers manage irrigation and predict crop maturity for individual fields on farms in the Southeast. PeanutFARM stands for Peanut Field Agronomic Resource Manager. The website with these tools can be found at The new address marks some changes that have occurred - the tools have moved to both a desktop and mobile application platform that is truly a collaborative effort between the University of Florida, University of Georgia and Auburn University. The new platforms bring some new capabilities, including a GPS locating option that automatically links a grower account to the nearest weather station. Both the irrigation scheduling component and the maturity prediction


models for cotton and corn that require soil water potential, rainfall and irrigation. NPRL scientists are in the process of moving the three individual programs for cotton, corn and peanuts from a user’s personal computer to a cloud based program. Growers and consultants can access Irrigator Pro online at to set up an account. As in the desktop model, initial set up requires fields be set up and identified by farm and field with the soil type and irrigation capacity. The crop is identified for each field, either cotton, corn or peanuts. Irrigation decisions for the web version are all based on soil water potential measurements at 8 inches, 16 inches and 24 inches. The peanut model will still operate using maximum/minimum soil temperatures and rainfall data, as well. At the beginning of the next year, no additional field data must be entered; just select the field and crop for the next season. Anticipated public access to Irrigator Pro Online is May 20, 2016. For assistance contact Bill Edwards at the National Peanut Research Laboratory at 229-995-7443 or t

The PeanutFARM website to help growers manage irrigation and predict crop maturity is available online at

component rely on the concept of adjusted Growing Degree Days (aGDDs) for peanuts. The aGDDs have been tested extensively over the past eight or so years, first at the National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, Georgia, and later by UF, UGA, Auburn University and elsewhere.

Southeastern Peanut Farmer May/June 2016

Easy Pan

The University of Georgia’s EASY (Evaporation-based Accumulator for Sprinkler-enhanced Yield) Pan irrigation scheduling method was developed by former Extension irrigation specialist, Kerry Harrison. It is based on pan evaporation data. The evaporation of water from a pan correlates closely with water removal from the soil. Easy Pan is a low cost, in-field monitoring system that is easier to use than the more expensive sensor-based systems. The in-field component is a washtub equipped with a float that indicates water levels in the pan. When a predetermined amount of water in the washtub evaporates, it is time to irrigate. t

Instructions to make the UGA EASY Pan are available online at

Growers who use these web-based tools can enter data on field location, and use weather and rainfall data collected from their own farm or provided by the nearest weather stations. The PeanutFARM website provides daily irrigation recommendations, weather data, irrigation totals and harvest timing. The aGDD’s use upper and lower daily air temperatures, plus the amount of water the crop receives from rainfall and irrigation to predict the development of the crop. While the irrigation component relies on aGDDs to estimate crop canopy cover and daily water use by the plants, the original purpose of the aGDD model was to predict digging date. The model has been shown to be accurate across most regions and for most current cultivars for maturity predictions. In addition, PeanutFARM also includes

2015 Peanut Irrigation year review


uring the 2015 year 22.65 inches of rainfall was received at the Stripling Irrigation Research Park on the trial planted on May 18, dug on October 5 and harvested on October 12. The table to the right shows the irrigation scheduling treatment mean plot results (all variety yields were averaged by irrigation scheduling treatment). As can be seen from the Table, there were no major differences between irrigation scheduling treatment during 2015, during what most people could call a wet year. IrrigatorPro was the highest yielding trial with the UGA Smart Sensor Array (SSA) a close second. It should be noted that the version of IrrigatorPro used for this trial incorporated Watermark soil moisture sensors thus was operated very similar to the UGA SSA treatment. This version is now available through the USDA-ARS Dawson Peanut Lab. It should be noted that even though the UGA Checkbook method yielded very well during 2015, it also applied three to four times more irrigation than did most of the other irrigation scheduling treatments which used a sensor. It is also important to note that irrigation pumping cost for 2015 can be

PeanutFARM continued

PeanutPROFILE that allows a grower to upload a scanned image of blasted pods and receive an automated image with a days to digging prediction via email. Growers across all Georgia, Florida and Alabama have used PeanutFARM, primarily for digging date prediction, but have also used the irrigation scheduling capability. The irrigation recommendation is greatly improved when growers edit the rainfall totals for their particular fields, rather than relying on totals from a weather station. Testing for validating the scheduling tool is ongoing in all three states to ensure regionally accurate predictions are provided and improvements can be made. Research support to develop these web-based tools was provided by the National Peanut Board, the Florida Peanut Producers Association and the Georgia Peanut Commission. t

Irrigation Guidebook

Irrigation Scheduling Treatment Differences

Irrigation Treatment

Dryland UGA Smart Sensor Array SmartCrop CWSI UGA Checkbook UGA EasyPan PeanutFarm Irrigator Pro 50% Checkbook

Irrigation Amount (in.)

0.5 4.45 3.55 12.50 5.20 5.20 2.80 6.76

Total Water (in.)

23.30 27.25 26.35 35.30 28.00 28.00 25.60 29.56

Yield (lbs/ac)

5193.6 5478.6 5172.8 5313.4 5404.9 5327.3 5542.6 5176.1

estimated in the range of $6 per acre-inch for electric and $12 per acre-inch for diesel, thus the additional 9 inches of irrigation applied by the UGA Checkbook over that of IrrigatorPro would have cost in the range of $54 to $108 per acre just to pump this additional water. Even if we assume since there is no statistical difference that the yields between the two treatments were the same, this is a significant input cost for no additional gain. Thus, unlike 2014, which was a dry year, 2015 was a wet year a very little

irrigation was required. Well timed supplemental irrigation provided the largest yield benefit. The current year, 2016 is predicted to be a much hotter and drier year than 2015, so be ready with sound irrigation scheduling strategies that help to maximize yield. More in-depth information can be found in the 2016 UGA Peanut Update or by contacting your local UGA County Extension agent. t

The checkbook method of irrigation scheduling is suitable for farms where there are no sensors or other methods used to schedule irrigation. The checkbook method follows growth curves developed for crops. As a peanut plant grows, its water requirements change. The checkbook method is sometimes called the water balance method. It relies on irrigation at times to meet a predetermined schedule for when the crop needs water and how much water is needed at various stages of growth. It’s like a checking account in that you add more money when the money in your checking account is low. Likewise, you add more water through irrigation when the amount of water available to the plant is low. Scheduling irrigation using a water balance or checkbook method is based on

the available water in the soil profile. Like a checkbook, inputs are credited to the total soil water, and withdrawals are debited from the soil water. Both irrigation and rainfall should be credited to the account or soil water balance. The key to using a checkbook method is to know the available water capacity of the soil. In the Coastal Plain of the Southeast, the soil typically only holds 0.08 inch of water per inch of soil. In the peanut irrigation studies conducted by Extension irrigation specialist Wesley Porter, the checkbook method resulted in over-watering of peanuts and lower yields. His tests in 2015 addressed this problem when he cut in half the rates recommended by the checkbook system. t

Checkbook method



May/June 2016 Southeastern Peanut Farmer


18th Annual Southern Peanut Growers Conference July 21-23, 2016 Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort


ark your calendars for the 18th Annual Southern Peanut Growers Conference, July 21-23, 2016, at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort, Miramar Beach, Florida. This year’s conference offers farmers an opportunity to learn more about legislative issues, the peanut marketplace and production issues. The registration fee for growers is $145 which includes all conference events and meals. The registration deadline is June 30. The registration fee increases by $50 on July 1. To register and view the conference schedule visit During the Saturday morning session at 9:00 a.m., the keynote address will be brought by Congressman Mike Conaway, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture. Other highlights during the conference include a panel discussion from researchers on how to Congressman Mike Conaway survive production R-Texas, Chairman of the uncertainty with the loss of House Committee on Agriculture pesticides, research on using peanut oil for jet fuel and a look at the land grants’ role in the survival of agriculture. There are a number of activities for families at the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort ranging from relaxation to recreation. Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort offers 7.5 miles of sugar white beaches, a spa, golf courses, tennis courts, five-acre Jolee Island Nature Park, 18 swimming pools, putt putt and more. The resort also features a variety of activities at The Village of Baytowne Wharf including an array of shops, eateries, galleries, nightlife, Adventure Land Playground and the Blast Arcade and Lazer Maze. The village is also home to the Baytowne Adventure Zone which includes a zipline, ropes course and tower climb. There is definitely something for everyone at the 18th annual conference and the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort!


Southeastern Peanut Farmer May/June 2016

Thursday, July 21 1:00 - 6:00 p.m. 1:00 - 7:00 p.m. 6:30 p.m.

7:00 p.m.

Friday, July 22 7:15 a.m. 8:30 a.m. 9:00 a.m.

10:15 a.m. 11:30 a.m.

1:00 p.m. 2:00 - 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 23 7:15 a.m. 9:00 a.m. Noon

12:30 - 6 p.m. 7:00 p.m.

7:30 p.m.

Schedule of Events

Hospitality & Ice Cream Social Conference Registration Welcoming Reception

Welcoming Dinner Sponsored by Bayer CropScience

Prayer Breakfast Sponsored by Valent U.S.A. Corporation Featuring Cross Country General Session I Survival in the Marketplace

Spouse Program (pre-registration required) General Session II Surviving Production Uncertainty Luncheon - Sponsored by BASF The Land Grants’ Role in Survival

General Session III Peanut Oil: Fuel for Survival

Dupon’ts Arcade Blast of Fun Location: Blast Arcade & Laser Maze at Baytowne Wharf Village Breakfast - Farm Press Peanut Profitability Awards Sponsored by National Peanut Board General Session IV Surviving the Legislative Process

Lunch on your own and afternoon free! Golf Tournament - The Raven Reception

Dinner and Entertainment Sponsored by Syngenta Featuring The American Flyers

Washington Outlook by Robert L. Redding Jr.

Farm structure deadline extended to July 1

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its final rule with regard to the 2014 Farm Bill Payment Limitations and Payment Eligibility, as it relates to the “actively engaged” definition, on Dec. 15, 2015. Some growers will have to restructure their farming operations due to these changes. The deadline to file farm structure changes has recently been extended until July 1, 2016. Agricultural organizations, including the Georgia Peanut Commission and the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, requested an extension from the June 1 farm structure filing deadline earlier this year. The GPC and SPFF are pleased that Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack extended the deadline. Farming operations will now have until July 1 to complete their restructuring or finalize any operational change. This date is used to determine the level of interest an individual holds in a legal entity for the applicable program year. The 2014 Farm Bill provided the Secretary with the direction and authority to amend the Actively Engaged in Farming rules related to management. The final rule established limits on the number of individuals who can qualify as actively engaged using only management. Only one payment limit for management is allowed under the rule, with the ability to request up to two additional qualifying managers operations for large and complex operations. The rule does not apply to farming operations comprised entirely of family members. The rule also does not change the existing regulations related to contributions of land, capital, equipment or labor, or the existing regulations related to landowners with a risk in the crop or to spouses. Producers that planted fall crops have until the 2017 crop year to comply with the new rules. The payment limit associated with Farm Service Agency farm payments is generally limited annually to $125,000 per individual or entity.

Sec. Vilsack promotes Trans-Pacific Partnership

Secretary Vilsack traveled to Vietnam and met with his counterparts from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade, among others, to discuss the details of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. Vietnam remains one of the fastest-growing markets for U.S. food and agricultural products, with U.S. exports totaling $2.3 billion in 2015. Vietnam’s average tariff on agricultural products is 16 percent, while the average U.S. tariff is five percent. Under the TPP, Vietnam will reduce and eventually eliminate tariffs across a broad range of food and agricultural products, helping put U.S. exports on a level playing field and giving the U.S. a leg up on non-TPP competitors. The U.S. exported $24 million of peanuts and peanut products to Vietnam in 2015. Under the TPP agreement, Vietnam’s tariffs on peanuts and peanut products, currently as high as 30 percent, will be eliminated within eight years. In addition, the TPP agreement addresses non-tariff trade barriers including sanitary and phytosanitary measures.


Southeastern Peanut Farmer May/June 2016

House Agriculture Committee reviews cost of production

U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis, R-Illinois, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research, held a hearing to highlight the positive and negative factors impacting cost of production. This is the third hearing in the series Focus on the Farm Economy, where each of the six subcommittees will examine the state of the farm economy from the perspective of the subcommittee. Members heard from witnesses who provided insight into different programs and policies impacting farm efficiency, productivity and profitability. “The cost of production to America’s farmers and ranchers is impacted by many factors ranging from market price and land values to government policies and regulations. According to our witness from Illinois, Mr. Richard Guebert, his input costs this year, excluding land, will be more than four times what they were in 1985. With this in mind and the recent collapse in net farm income, farmers and ranchers will need every tool available to them to minimize cost of production. Our government agencies need to stop implementing burdensome policies and regulations, which threaten the farm economy and pose challenges for producers and processors with little evidence of added benefit to food safety or production,” says Subcommittee Chairman Rodney Davis.

House Ag focus on the farm economy continues

Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, R-Indiana, chairwoman of the House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Nutrition, held a hearing to examine the connection between U.S. farm policy and the stability of food prices for consumers. This is the fourth hearing in the Focus on the Farm Economy series. Members heard from a panel of witnesses who explained the share of the food dollar that goes to each segment of the food supply chain, the role U.S. farm policies play in stabilizing retail food prices and the potential impact that shifts in food prices have on consumers. “Strong farm policy plays a critical role in providing a stable supply of affordable food for consumers. While the average American spends less than 10 percent of their income on food, low-income households spend upwards of 35 percent of their income on food, making them more susceptible to swings in food prices. As we begin work on the next farm bill, today’s conversation will play a critical role in helping us make informed decisions about good farm policies that impact both producers and consumers,” says Subcommittee Chairwoman Walorski.


Peanut industry holds congressional staff tour

he Southern Peanut Farmers Federation hosted 10 congressional staff members in Alabama May 5-8, 2016, for a peanut educational tour. The tour educated staff members on the current state of Southeastern peanut farms and allowed them to see first-hand how agricultural legislation like the farm bill affects the industry. The tour also provided a great opportunity for growers and industry representatives to thank the staffers for all they do to help write strong farm policy. “The tour was a valuable opportunity to gain the on-the-ground insight that is essential to my role as the agriculture staffer for Congressman Scott,” says Mary Dee Beal, legislative director for Congressman Austin Scott, R-Georgia. “From farmers, to buying points to crop protection and lenders, the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation made sure we left with a deep and well-rounded understanding of the peanut industry and its contribution to our rural economies.” Stops on the tour took place primarily in Baldwin County, one of the top peanut producing counties in Alabama. During their time in the area, staffers met with peanut growers, buying point owners and other members of the agribusiness community. Upon arrival in Mobile on the afternoon of May 5, the group began their tour at West Bay Buying Point in West Bay, Alabama. There, Bert Driskell of Grand Bay discussed the peanut grading process. Several staffers were surprised to learn how little grading equipment has changed since the 1950s. Driskell also allowed the group to explore much of his family’s 8,000 acre farm, where they grow peanuts, cotton, corn, soybeans, turf

Joel Sirmon, farmer in Daphene, Ala., explains the planting process of peanuts to congressional staff members on the tour held in May.

grass and raise cattle. The following day, the group visited Joe Parker, owner of Summerdale Peanut Company, an independent buying point currently contracted with Birdsong Peanuts. Parker left the group with a thorough understanding of the history of the peanut industry in Alabama. After leaving Summerdale Peanut Company, members of the group toured Crop Production Services in Atmore. The staffers learned about the science of soil and fertilizer production, as well as its importance to crops. The final day of the tour began at Sirmon Farms in Daphne, Alabama. Here, Joel Sirmon discussed the importance of the H2A migrant worker program while showing the group around his sweet potato storage facility and hydroponic greenhouses. Sirmon also took the group out to a nearby field and showed them peanuts being planted for the 2016 crop

Bert Driskell (center) explains the peanut grading process at West Bay Buying Point on the congressional staff tour in May.

• • • • • • • • • •

year. After leaving Sirmon Farms, the group visited Auburn University’s Gulf Coast Experiment Station, where staffers heard more about the importance of research and extension. Several of the staffers also took the opportunity to ride in a tractor driven by GPS technology. To conclude the tour, Rachel Holland of United Bank joined the group for lunch in Fairhope and discussed the current state of farm lending and its role in the agricultural industry. Nearly everyone the staffers met stressed the importance of a strong peanut program, especially at a time when most commodity prices are low. At the end of the weekend, staffers returned to their offices with a greater understanding of how the peanut industry serves as the backbone of agricultural communities like Baldwin County. t


Participating Congressional staff members on the tour Mary Dee Beal, Congressman Austin Scott, R-Georgia Zellie Duvall, Congressman Buddy Carter, R-Georgia Ashley Osterkamp, Congressman David Scott, D-Georgia Tom Beyer, Congressman Rob Woodall, R-Georgia Miriam Fry, Congressman Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama Haley Wilson, Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Alabama Jennifer Groover, Congressman Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama Cindy Pate, Congresswoman Martha Roby, R-Alabama Elizabeth Parks, Congressman Trent Kelly, R-Mississippi Daniel Hale, Senator David Perdue, R-Georgia May/June 2016 Southeastern Peanut Farmer


Southern Peanut Growers The best way to fuel the day: Peanut Butter

Whether you’re a fitness junkie, busy parent, sleep-deprived student or diehard sweet tooth, peanut butter is the perfect pairing for all of life’s moments. To honor this sticky staple’s place in our lives, Southern Peanut Growers recently announced the winners of its annual “PB My Way” recipe contest showcasing the dishes that best fuel PB lovers’ daily adventures. “It’s easy to think of peanut butter as part of a simple snack or an ingredient in a decadent dessert, but with this year’s contest, we really wanted to challenge people to think of ways to incorporate PB into all aspects of their lives,” said Leslie Wagner, executive director for Southern Peanut Growers. “Whether you’re on-the-go, looking for a mid-day energy boost, reaching for a sweet snack or sitting down to a family meal, there’s always a place for peanut butter.” Now in its seventh year, the annual “PB My Way” contest received hundreds of delicious recipe submissions from coast to coast. Inspired by this year’s theme “For Life,” entries included on-trend health foods like kale and quinoa, Elvis-inspired sweets and global dishes to delight palates all over the world. Try one of these winning “For Life” peanut butter recipes with your family: Grand Prize Winner: Veggie Sammies with PB Satay Sauce - Take lunchtime to a new level by smothering your sandwich with a savory PB satay sauce. Save the extra sauce for a healthy veggie dip at snack time. Submitted by: Ben M., San Francisco, California. (View recipe on page 23.) Snack Time Winner: Creamy PB Banana Popsicles Smooth and sweet, these dreamy popsicles are the perfect melt-inyour-mouth treat on a hot summer day. Submitted by: Mary L., Columbia, South Carolina. Sweet Celebrations Winner: Graceland Mini Cupcakes Inspired by the King of Rock and Roll, these cupcakes are packed to the core with peanut butter. Top them off with candied bacon for a royally delectable dessert. Submitted by: Linda D., Coconut Creek, Florida. Fit Fuel Winner: PB Quinoa Kale Bowls - Power your workout with a colorful bowl packed with healthy superfoods and tasty flavors. Try it as a vegetarian dish or add your favorite protein for a hearty, wholesome meal. Submitted by: Veronica C., Glastonbury, Connecticut. Family-tested Winner: Peanut Apple Chicken Curry - A grown-up twist on the classic peanut butter and apple pairing, this new take on a traditional Indian dish is a total palate pleaser. It’s easy enough for a weekday meal the family is sure to love. Submitted by: Jess A., Berkeley, California.

Marketing arm of

Peanuts take center stage at the Southern Women’s Show in Nashville

Southern Peanut Growers exhibited to a crowd of 55,000 people at the Southern Women’s Show in Nashville, Tennessee, April 14 - 17, 2016. Visitors were able to see a peanut field and real peanut plants in the exhibit; taste peanut butter recipe samples; and Consumers at the Southern pick up recipes, cookbooks, Women’s Show choose their favorites from a variety of nutrition information and recipe cards at the booth promotional items like peanut featuring peanut and peanut butter spreaders. butter recipes. The four-day show was staffed by Southern Peanut Growers, Alabama Peanut Producers and Georgia Peanut Commission and included a total of four cooking demonstrations themed, “Power Up Your Mother’s Day Brunch with Peanut Butter.” SPG Leslie Wagner explains how demonstrated Peanut Butter peanuts grow to an attendee during the Southern Breakfast Bread Pudding, Women’s Show in Nashville. Peanutty Chicken Salad, Peanut Apple Salad and No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie during the cooking shows.

Georgia dietitians get the latest on nutrition and allergy research

The Georgia Peanut Commission teamed up with Southern Peanut Growers and National (NPB) Peanut Board to exhibit at the Georgia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Atlanta on March 16. Leslie Wagner with industry exhibits at SPG and Keegan Treadaway with Peanut Georgia Dietetics meeting. NPB were on-hand to talk to Pictured left to right: Keegan Treadaway with National dietitians about the latest in Peanut Board, Leslie Wagner nutrition and allergy research. with Southern Peanut Growers NPB provided flash drives and Sherry Coleman Collins, NPB’s registered dietitian. pre-loaded with all the allergy research information and a video about how to make the first baby foods, which include peanut protein to help prevent peanut allergy.

Southern Peanut Growers

1025 Sugar Pike Way · Canton, Georgia 30115 (770) 751-6615 · FAX (770) 751-6417 email: Visit our website at

Satay Veggie Sandwiches

Satay Sauce Ingredients 4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter 3 tablespoons lime juice 2 tablespoons water 4 teaspoons hoisin sauce 2 teaspoons soy sauce 2 teaspoons Sriracha Sandwich Ingredients 1/2 cup each: sliced cucumber white onion red bell pepper purple cabbage fresh torn cilantro leaves and stems Two, 6 inch french baguette rolls, lightly toasted

Directions Combine all satay sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Spread sauce on all sides of bread, then layer with cucumber, onion and bell pepper. Top with cabbage and cilantro leaves.

View more recipes online at

May/June 2016 Southeastern Peanut Farmer


Profile for SEPF

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May/June 2016 - Southeastern Peanut Farmer