Farm groups have met with members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees in Washington and urged leaders to raise the Reference Prices in the new Farm Bill as cost of production has surpassed the levels approved by Congress 8 years ago.  While farm groups were making their case, an anti- Farm Bill group of U.S. Representative have championed a letter in “strong opposition” to the potential increases commenting that any increase would only further drive-up inflation. , U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney, R-WV,  was joined by Reps. Andy Ogles, R-TN, Brian Mast, R-FL, Andy Biggs, R-AZ, Carol Miller, R-WV, and Nancy Mace, R-SC.    

                    “At a time when Congress must be taking steps to reduce federal spending, we must resist costly attempts to expand the scope of government intervention in the free market,” said U.S. Rep. Alex X. Mooney, R-WV.

                    The letter was also supported by The Club for Growth, Competitive Markets Action, and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste.  Their arguments were that these higher price guarantees would mostly benefit fewer than 6,000 farms in a few states and any increases would benefit less than 0.3 percent of farming operations.  The letter emphasized that increased price guarantees for major crops would mostly benefit farmers of peanuts, cotton and rice in Southern states, not corn and soybean farmers.


            USDA has announced that agricultural producers can now enroll in the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2024 crop year. Producers can enroll and make election changes for the 2024 crop year starting Dec. 18, 2023. The deadline to complete enrollment and any election change is March 15, 2024.  

            FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux said, “These programs provide critical financial protections against commodity market volatilities for many American farmers so don’t delay enrollment. Avoid the rush and contact your local FSA office for an appointment because even if you are not changing your program election for 2024, you still need to sign a contract to enroll.”

            ARC and PLC are part of a broader USDA safety net that also includes crop insurance and marketing assistance loans. Producers are reminded that ARC and PLC elections and enrollments can impact eligibility for some crop insurance products.  Producers on farms with a PLC election can purchase Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) through their Approved Insurance Provider; however, producers on farms where ARC is the election are ineligible for SCO on their planted acres for that crop on that farm.  


                    Greg Baltz of Pocahontas, Arkansas is the new chairman of the National Peanut Board.  Baltz and his wife Mary Nell own and operate Running Lake Farms and have been growing peanuts for 13 years. He farms runner peanuts, rice, corn and soybeans. The Baltzes have been married for 45 years and have three married children pursuing their own successful careers.

                He is a member of the Arkansas Peanut Growers Association and Black River Technical College Ag Advisory Committee. Baltz graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in agricultural engineering. He serves on the University of Arkansas College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council, as well as the Division of Agriculture Rice Processing Program. He is a current member and former county president of Farm Bureau, and past president of the University of Arkansas Academy of Biological and Agricultural Engineers. Baltz is a former executive officer and member of the Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus. In their spare time, the Baltzes enjoy traveling.


                 Joe Boddiford, peanut farmer from Sylvania, Georgia, was elected chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission during the January monthly board meeting.  This is Boddiford’s third consecutive term serving as chairman. He previously served as chairman in 2000.

                “I look forward to working with Georgia peanut farmers and our industry partners to help enhance the peanut industry and the profitability of farmers,” Boddiford says. “Farmers can contact me at any time if they have suggestions for the work of the Georgia Peanut Commission on their behalf.”

                Other officers elected during the board meeting include Donald Chase, Oglethorpe, Georgia, as vice chairman, and Rodney Dawson, Hawkinsville, Georgia, as treasurer. Additional board members include Tim Burch, Newton, Georgia, representing district 1 and Ross Kendrick, Sycamore, Georgia, representing district 2.

                The Georgia peanut production area is divided into five districts based on acreage distribution and geographical location with one board member representing each district.

                The Georgia Peanut Commission represents more than 4,500 peanut farm families in the state and conducts programs in the areas of research, promotion and education. For more information on the programs of the Georgia Peanut Commission, visit www.gapeanuts.com.


      Delta Peanut announced recently that the Board of Directors has initiated a search for the next CEO of Delta Peanut. Board member and grower owner, Jeremy Baltz, who has been serving as the Interim CEO, has achieved the objectives he and the Board established for his interim role and are now looking forward to adding a permanent CEO to its leadership team.

      During 2023, our grower owners planted and harvested Delta Peanut’s largest crop to date. Under Jeremy’s leadership, Delta Peanut increased efficiencies and achieved record production levels at our buying points and shelling plant while improving the consistency and manufacturing quality of the peanuts look forward to continuing to be part of Delta Peanut’s success for years to come.”  Jeremy Baltz will continue to serve as Interim CEO through the transition and then continue to serve on the Board of Directors.

                For info: 870-932-2222 or [email protected].


    USDA has released Final Peanut Crop Estimate for 2023.   

                    Production was estimated at 5.89 billion pounds, (2,945,010 tons) up 6 percent from 2022. Planted area was estimated at 1.65 million acres, up 14 percent from 2022. Harvested area was estimated at 1.57 million acres, up 14 percent from 2022. The average yield was estimated at 3,742 pounds per acre, down 270 pounds from 2022.   Record high yields were estimated in Arkansas and Virginia.


                 Peanut growers from Alabama and Florida were able to fine-tune their farming operations with information gained at the Alabama-Florida Peanut Trade Show February 1, 2024 at the National Peanut Festival fairgrounds in Dothan, Alabama. The trade show was hosted by Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA) and Florida Peanut Producers Association (FPPA), and sponsored by National Peanut Board. The National Peanut Festival was the venue sponsor. Over 400 peanut growers and industry partners from Alabama and Florida attended to view industry products and services offered by more than 60 exhibitors.

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

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

                 The Grand Door Prize, provided by Kelley Manufacturing Co., of a $5,000 voucher that can be used toward $5,000 off the price of any one piece of equipment or for $5,000 worth of parts for KMC equipment was won by Dennis McCord of Cottonwood, AL.  Myron Johnson of Headland, Alabama won a free trip to the 2024 Southern Peanut Growers Conference in July. Ashley Kelley of Andalusia, Alabama won a Steoger 12 gauge shotgun.


                  Peanut growers from around Georgia gathered Thursday at the Georgia Peanut Farm Show & Conference at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center.  More than 800 participants had the opportunity to learn about research, products and the latest trends in the peanut industry.  During the show, the Georgia Peanut Commission presented several awards to those who have contributed to the advancement of the peanut industry.

Awards presented include:

  • Distinguished Service Award – John T. Powell,  Executive .Director, American Peanut Shellers Association
  • Research and Education Award – Dr. Glen Harris, UGA Professor and Extension Peanut Team
  • Media Award – Dal Cannady, WTOC-TV, Savannah.
    • Outstanding Young Peanut Farmer – Mallory Harvey of Appling County
    • Outstanding Georgia Peanut Farmers of the Year – District 1 Donald Shirah, Camilla, Georgia rrisHaHarrison; District 2 – Gerald Fowler, Sycamore, Georgia; District 3 – Lee Cromley, Brooklet, Georgia: District 4 Sam Crenshaw, Cordele, Georgia: District 5, Presented posthumously to Richard Morrison, Lumpkin Georgia.
    • At the close of the day, the presentation of the Grand Door Prize donated by Kelley Manufacturing Co. was presented to Jim Deen, Broxton, Georgia. Deen received one season’s use of a new 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 2024 season, as well as a cash prize.
    • Amadas Industries also provided the Grower Door Prize to Zach Brown of Sumner, Georgia, and Ted O’Steen, Ambrose, Georgia. Brown received a customized Grizzly cooler and a certificate towards the purchase of a new Amadas self-propelled peanut combine, pull-type peanut combine, peanut digger or peanut dump cart. O’Steen received a customized Grizzly cooler and a certificate for Amadas parts.


                  Mark Moore, CEO of Manna Nutrition, accepted the award at the Fitzgerald Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting.  He said, “I’ve met people from all over the world at the Fitzgerald Airport, who have flown in to see our operation and our community.  They are impressed with both.” 

                  Fitzgerald is home to the largest “Ready to Use Therapeutic (RUTF) manufacturer in the world.  MANA will be bringing manufacturing capacity online in Fitzgerald that will quadruple capacity.  The company did $50 million in production last year and expects to do $150 million this year and $500 million in just a few years.   He said, “Malnutrition is the greatest killer of children in the world.  A child dies every six seconds. 90% of children who receive MANA’s RUTF survive.  MANA is run as a non-profit and their only goal is to feed starving children.