Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What a Harvest

The harvest season has been quite busy for the Commission as well as the farmers in Georgia.

The Commission has been in the midst of the Georgia Peanut Tour; did a promotion at Talladega at the race; sampled peanuts at peanut festivals in Brooklet, Plains, and Sylvester; had a great exhibit at Sunbelt; participated in peanut butter donations to the food banks with Georgia Farm Bureau, the National Peanut Buying Points, the American Peanut Shellers, and several individuals; did chefs demos at the Georgia National Fair and the Southern Women's Show; have been to several school ag days; participated in the South Campus Tailgate with the College of Ag at the UGA/Kentucky game; had about 300 banks participating in Georgia Peanut Bank Week; participated in the peanut exhibit at the National Peanut Festival; and the list goes on.

All of this while farmers have battled one of the worst harvest seasons in recent years.

I have made several observations in my 24 crops at the Peanut Commission and some have to do with harvest:

1. Rain at harvest time does not improve average yields. Though the late season warmth and rain was a blessing to some this year who were pushed late in planting for those peanuts planted in May the rain at harvest was not a help. Persistent rain and cooler temperatures have helped no-one late in the harvest.

2. Having to use a lifter to get the peanuts back up after they were rained on post digging is an added cost and does not improve yields, though if done right I suppose the damage is minimal.

3. It is hard to dig peanuts out of mud and do a good job of digging and getting the dirt off of the vines and nuts.

4. If by chance you have to re-shake peanuts, harvest losses increase. This may be good for a dove shoot but not for profitability on the farm.

5. Bad dogs have long tails and this harvest sure seems to act like a bad dog with a long tail.

6. Farmers are amazing folks that they can deal with the vagaries of weather and not go absolutely crazy.

7. Peanuts are not the only crops affected by bad weather.

But then as I enter this time of Thanksgiving I am reminded of everything I have to be thankful for. I have my Faith, my family, and my friends. I work in a great and noble industry. Our farmers have never let me go hungry. I am truly blessed.

So as you sit down this Thursday to the feast of the season give thanks for all the blessings and somehow the ills of a bad harvest seem to fall in to perspective. In August I wondered if we would even have a crop to harvest. Stop and thank God for the bounty and thank him for the American Farmer.