Profitability may be a scarce commodity among peanut producers this year, with some saying the 2006 crop could go down in history as the most expensive ever produced.
“There's no doubt this is the most expensive peanut crop ever grown, and we have the numbers to prove it,” says Marshall Lamb, research director of the National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, Ga., and advisor for the Farm Press Peanut Profitability Award.
Even though 2006 was the most expensive year for peanuts in terms of production costs, timely rainfall in some areas and fewer irrigation treatments might have made the difference for some growers.
“While many peanut producers may have realized a loss, there still are some who made good peanuts and possibly squeezed a profit from this difficult year, and those are the growers we want to recognize with the Peanut Profitability Awards,” says Lamb.
The Farm Press Peanut Profitability Awards is entering its eighth year, having honored seven classes of winners from throughout the Southeast, Virginia-Carolina and Southwest. Since the program's inception in 2000, the Peanut Profitability Awards have honored 21 deserving winners.
Peanut growers from throughout the Southeast, Virginia-Carolina and Southwest production regions are encouraged to participate in the Farm Press Peanut Profitability Award for 2007.
“The Farm Press Peanut Profitability Awards Program began with the first-ever Southern Peanut Growers Conference, and the two have grown together,” says Farm Press Publisher Greg Frey. “This year will mark the eighth class of Peanut Profitability winning growers, and each class continues to impress with their innovative ways of improving bottom-line profits.”
“One of the aims of Peanut Profitability has been to recognize those growers who have shown amazing adaptability in the face of GREAT changes, and who have continued to produce profitable peanut crops,” he says.
The awards are based on production efficiency, honoring those growers who produce the highest yields at the lowest cost per acre. Awards are presented to growers from the Southeast Region, including Alabama, Georgia and Florida; the Virginia-Carolina Region, including Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina; and the Southwest Region, including Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
Winners of the 2006 awards were honored for production efficiency achieved during the 2005 growing season. This year's winners include: Southwest Region, Jim Davis, Levelland, Texas; Southeast Region, Andrew Collins, Edison, Ga.; and Virginia-Carolina Region, Hugh and Landy Weathers, Bowman, S.C.
The winning nominations for the 2007 awards will be based on production efficiency during the 2006 growing season. Winners of the 2007 awards will receive an expenses-paid trip for two to the Southern Peanut Growers Conference in Panama City, Fla., set for July of next year. They also will receive limited-edition signed and numbered prints from noted watercolor artist Jack DeLoney.
In addition, the winners are featured in special Peanut Profitability issues of Southeast Farm Press and Southwest Farm Press.
Lamb, who was instrumental in the creation of the awards program, has designed a nomination form to be used by growers in determining production efficiency.
“While achieving consistently high yields and grades is important, it's only part of the equation to maximizing profits. The elements of production cost and price are equally important factors,” says Lamb.
The grower nomination form for the Peanut Profitability Award is very extensive, notes Lamb, and considers both fixed and variable costs.
“We've had nominees in this program who had higher yields than most, but they did not correctly manage their cost structure. We're looking at per-unit costs, and how effectively farmers manage their cost structures,” he says.
The awards program, he says, is based on a producer's entire peanut operation. “We're not talking about small plots in select fields. Rather, we look at the overall management of these growers. This includes yields, costs and marketing management for the entire farm, and most of our winners come from sizable farms,” says Lamb.
Assisting with the awards program is an Advisory Board comprised of Extension peanut specialists, county agents, economists and commodity group officials from the major peanut-producing states. They help to distribute nomination forms within their respective states and educate potential nominees about the program.
Farm Press editors, working with Lamb, select the regional winners from the pool of state nominees. Members of the Advisory Board, along with Lamb, are charged with periodically reviewing the awards program to insure consistency.
Growers may submit their nomination form directly to the National Peanut Research Laboratory, or they may submit it to their county Extension agent, peanut specialist or economist. The deadline for all nominations is April 15, 2007.
Growers can access the nomination form via the Internet at southeastfarmpress.com and southwestfarmpress.com. In addition, it can be linked from various commodity group Web sites. To receive a hard copy of the form, call Farm Press headquarters at (662) 624-8503 or contact any member of the Advisory Board.
While recognizing deserving growers is important, it's only one part of the program, says Frey. “A second major component of the Peanut Profitability Program is education. Southeast Farm Press and Southwest Farm Press accomplished this by publishing numerous articles on peanut production efficiency. It also is our hope that farmers from throughout the Peanut Belt will learn from the production practices of growers who receive the award.”
Farm Press will continue to publish articles in the coming year focusing on peanut production efficiency. Each article will bear the Peanut Profitability Program logo so that it can be recognized easily by readers.
Peanut Profitability's education component also has funded internships in the past three years to deserving college students majoring in agricultural communications or a related field.
The 2007 Peanut Profitability Award Program Officials and Advisory Board:
Paul L. Hollis, Editor, Southeast Farm Press
166 North Gay Street
P.O. Box 1415
Auburn, Ala. 36831-1415
Marshall Lamb, Research Leader
USDA National Peanut Research Laboratory
1011 Forester Drive, Dawson, Ga. 31740
Nathan B. Smith, Agricultural Economist, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service
Rural Development Center
15 RDC Road, P.O. Box 1209
Tifton, Ga. 31794
John Beasley, Agronomist, University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service
Rural Development Center
15 RDC Road, P.O. Box 1209
Tifton, Ga. 31793
Tim Hewitt, Agricultural Economist, University of Florida Cooperative Extension Service
NFREC, 3925 Highway 71
Marianna, Fla. 32446
Dallas Hartzog, Agronomist, Alabama Cooperative Extension System Wiregrass Research & Extension Station
Highway 134 East, P.O. Box 217
Headland, Ala. 36345
David Jordan, Crop Science Extension Specialist, North Carolina State University
4207 Williams Hall, Box 7620
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, N.C. 27695
North Carolina Peanut Growers Association
P.O. Box 8, Nashville, N.C. 27856-0008
Joel Faircloth, Agronomist, Virginia Tech
Tidewater Ag Research and Extension Center
6321 Holland Road
Suffolk, Va. 23437
Virginia Peanut Growers Association
P.O. Box 59 1001 Campbell Ave.
Franklin, Va. 23851
Jay Chapin, Extension Peanut Specialist
Edisto Research and Education Center
64 Research Road
Blackville, S.C. 29817
Southwest Texas Peanut Growers Association
P.O. Box 252
Seminole, Texas 79360
Todd Baughman, Extension Specialist, Texas A&M University
P.O. Box 2159
Vernon, Texas 76385
Floyd McAllister, Roosevelt County, N.M., Extension Agent
705 E. Lime St., P.O. Box 455
Fort Portales, N.M. 88130