Saturday, December 20, 2008

Merry Christmas

The Peanut Commission will be closed from Christmas Eve to New Year's Day. Some years back the Board decided that many of the State Holidays come at a really bad time in our work schedule so they moved the most conflicting to the less busy week of the Christmas Holidays. It has worked well and brings the staff back with a rested energy as the New Year begins.

I can't leave for the year though without giving you two treats that are easy and delicious for the Holidays.

Frozen Peanut Butter Pie:

In your stand mixer mix one cup creamy peanut butter, 1.75 qts. (or a half gallon) of light vanilla ice cream, 8 oz. of frozen whipped topping. Once these ingredients are mixed completely pour the batter in two nine inch graham cracker pie crusts. Using your chef's knife shave dark chocolate to sprinkle on top (about 1/4 cup of the shaved chocolate.) Chop 1/4 cup honey roasted peanuts and sprinkle on top. Cover and freeze for 4 hours before serving. Slice and serve with a squirt of Redi-Whip.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies:

Mix 1 cup creamy peanut butter, 1 cup sugar, one egg, and one tsp. vanilla. Spoon out on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for about 12 minutes. Dress them up by mixing in 1/4 cup chopped pecans, 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chunks, and 1/4 cup dried cherries.

A final hint:

Going to that Christmas party and need to take something In your favorite chicken salad mix chopped peanuts and dried cranberries and see what a festive touch it makes.

Merry Christmas

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Southern Peanut Farmers Federation Meeting

The federation between Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and now Mississippi has been a powerful advent for Georgia growers. Our issues are so similar in the southeast and having this group has significantly extended our reach on issues of common interest.

We are having a meeting of the Federation this week to discuss the issues facing us in peanut production.

We have to begin now looking toward the next farm bill. It may well be different than any we have ever had. I do think the present Administration will have an influence on the direction of farm policy but they will not be anti-farm. A lot of support may be through the use of commodities in feeding programs and the like.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Peanut Industry Meeting

We are at an industry wide meeting in Atlanta right now. What a fun way to spend my birthday. Actually, it is nice to have a chance to search the views of others to see if anyone has the answers to the major question farmers have, "what should I plant."

I think the peanut market will be soft and we are in for a roller coaster ride of feast and famine. A commodity analyst today basically said he feels energy is at a low and will increase and that commodity prices are also poised to increase.

As for peanuts there is not much discussion of price and I see an industry in a wait and see mode.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Georgia Farm Bureau

I was at Georgia Farm Bureau's convention on Sunday and had the time to visit with a lot of farmers. The uncertainty is really out there but strangely enough optimism still prevails. There are some farmers who still have peanuts in the field and they may well stay there based on the soil moisture conditions right now. There is no evaporation so the soil is not drying out at any pace at all.

I am pretty certain from what I hear that peanut, cotton, and corn acres are destined to lower acreages and soybeans will offer an alternative because the price is the best versus cost and the amount of money risked is significantly less. I am reminding farmers that they need to consider soybeans as a peanut in rotation so they need to stay at least to follow with at least two rotation crops and really with three rotation crops would be better.

Considering the dismal market picture I am also recommending that farmers seriously look at the rotation program which would tend to move us closer to a four year rotation on many acres and might help tighten the supply up to levels where the farmer has an opportunity for a profit.

If I could be king for a day I would have all the farmers plant every other day and go fishing and hunting the days they are not planting. We just have too much of everything and no market for it.

I remember being told by some of the major shellers and manufacturers that a reduction in price would increase demand. What happened?

Buckle the seatbelts, the roller coaster is about to take off and it is going to be a wild ride.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Visit From A Farmer

Billy Sanders, a farmer for whom I have a lot of respect came by the office today to get some peanut gift boxes for Christmas.

We visited a bit on what was going on in the world of Agriculture, cotton boll weevil eradication, and more. I asked him to change horses a bit and we did.

I asked him what they were going to do on Sanders' Farms this year. He told me they would have some cotton and peanuts, wheat after peanuts even though usually they did cotton after peanuts. He told me they would have significant acreage in soybeans because the price may be the best of the Commodities and the cost is the least so they offer significantly less risk.

I told him a big challenge I have is convincing folks that soybeans are the same as a peanut when you consider rotation. It is hard to convince some folks in the industry that soybeans on an acre of land means you need to wait at least three years to go back on that land with peanuts. I think farmers understand that but economics sometimes causes us to make less than optimum decisions on rotation. If I could wave a magic wand and have all conventional acres of peanuts on a four rotation and all conservation tillage on three years I would do it.

Farmers are really frustrated with the situation with prices being weak and inputs being too expensive. I also sense frustration of some in the industry who don't know how to handle this feast and famine cycle. Too many peanuts in 2008 and likely too few in 2009. We are a small commodity with no futures market so we feel the ride on the roller coaster a lot more rough at times.