Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Farmers Satisfied with Planting Cotton

At current market offerings and already strong commitments based on cotton contracts many farmers who would normally grow peanuts seem to be satisfied with parking the peanut planter in lieu of cotton.

It seems cotton fared better under the 2010 drought conditions and the continuation of the La Nina weather impact which has the Georgia State Climatologist predicting warmer and drier than normal conditions through the Winter and Spring at the least and farmers seem happy to stay the course with cotton.

It is hard to argue that kind of logic. We would all rather stay with what does the best for us.

So what does this mean for peanuts? A $550 contract didn't get much interest and time is running out for the peanut market to find new life. Farmers will have a hard time getting financing without a contract. Manufacturers seem to be satisfied that the supply will always be there. Farmers are no longer willing to sell below the true cost. Shellers are caught in the middle.

If no one blinks soon we could see some very interesting price spikes in the market. I remember one farmer selling for $1436 in 1990. With quality issues it is certain we don't have enough peanuts in the pipeline to carry us until harvest 2011 so things may get very interesting.

Complicate this with the fact that cotton has to be delivered under a final contract and once that acre is contracted there is not enough money to get it out of cotton and back in peanuts. Same goes for corn and soybeans. They all have trading markets and sufficient volume to attract speculators. Peanuts does not.

If we get past the first of the year with no sufficient offer to entice producers to contract peanuts and there is any spike in the cotton market at all and Katie bar the door where we will end up as far as price for peanuts in the 2011 crop. Frankly, uncommitted 2010 crop will have to go up to fill the gap created by short plantings for the 2011 crop.

Don't look for a last minute reprieve on acres after corn is planted in February and March.

Buckle your seat belts. This might be one heck of a ride.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Old Time Harvest in 2010

Tommy Hughes, the radiator repair man and antique tractor collector from Cordele gave us a trip to the past Saturday when he harvested his stacked peanuts with an old Turner stationery peanut picker.

Tommy found the picker in another man's shed and the man said he was about to burn it and sell the metal for scrap. Tommy rescued the picker and Saturday it ran like a well oiled machine.

There was also a stationery hay baler from the same era.

Watch for the video soon on the Peanut Commission You Tube page.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Will There Be Enough Peanuts?

Cotton prices for next year are approaching dollar cotton even after basis.

The National Center for Peanut Competitiveness has been comparing cotton and peanuts on the Representative Farms.

Discussions with many farmers seem to indicate that many farmers are not willing to plant peanuts at the current offering of $550.

Reports out of the VC indicate farmers are disheartened by this year's peanut crop and it may take $650 to get peanuts grown in that area in lieu of cotton.

Farmers are looking at booking cotton and once they have done that they will have to plant those acres in cotton. Remember cotton contracts are firm delivery contracts because there is a market where shortfalls can be made up.

Growers in Georgia to whom I have spoken seem intent on the fact that compared to cotton and other commodities, soybeans seem to be mentioned regularly, it will now take a contract with a 6 in front for peanuts to sufficiently compete for acres.

The quality and quantity of the 2010 crop has taken care of the pre-plant discussions of a peanut surplus.

For many producers planting decisions may be made by Thanksgiving and certainly by the first of December. If the manufacturers and shellers continue to hold at current offers we could face a shortage of peanuts in 2011-2012. This would make contracting peanuts a bad decision at current levels if we short the peanut crop.

Just one final note...State Climatologist has said hotter than normal and drier normal conditions will continue through a significant portion of 2011.

It may be an interesting year.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Election is Over

Well the election is over and hopefully not too much will be taken for granted in the Republican landslide. Likewise the incumbent survivors need to not be in glee for their past record. The fact is the American people have sent the same message they sent two years ago...it is time for Washington to listen to the will of the people.

Gridlock and finger pointing is no longer acceptable and if it continues there will be a new bunch of folks in 2012 as well.

Now how does the sweeping change in Washington play for Agriculture and Peanuts?

With sweeping losses in the south, with those losses went seniority. Our new team will be spending a lot of time learning the system and frankly, the system will consume them if they are not careful. There has been somewhat of a power shift from the South to the Midwest. The South used to keep incumbents there forever and therefore we had power.

It is no secret the Midwest has always believed Southern Agriculture had it too good for too long. There is not a really great understanding of the higher cost structure farmers in the South face.

It will be interesting to see how this shift plays out.

Issues to keep an eye on include payment limits, direct payments, disaster assistance, and more.

It is pretty evident that over time if the market is going to have peanuts they are going to have to assume more of the responsibility.

I don't really see this happening right now.

It seems that no-one in the industry past the grower ranks has a clue that cotton for next year is almost a dollar a pound and soy is over eleven and corn at over five. Once financing is arranged and inputs locked in and forward sales contracted for those other commodities, there will be no turning back.

Currently, cotton prices would indicate from the representative farm model and with significant agreement from farmers, peanut contracts will need to be in excess of $550 to compete for acres. Dollar cotton would command a price in excess of $600 to compete for acres.

Complicate all of this with the fact that the 2010 crop had increased levels of damage and aflatoxin which will further reduce the supply and the prediction from the Georgia State Climatologist that the current weather pattern of hotter than normal and drier than normal conditions will continue through much of 2011 and the market should be exciting.

If the industry fails to make a reasonable offer before mid December farmers will have made their decisions and someone will do without peanuts before the 2012 harvest.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Peanut Harvest Continues

October is traditionally a dry month but it was dry going in to October in many places and where it wasn't it is now.

Harvest continues and non-irrigated peanuts range from virtually not worth picking to surprisingly good based on where they are and how much rain they got. Irrigated peanuts are off a bit from what we would have anticipated.

Quality of the crop based on environmental conditions is somewhat less than recent years. Burrower Bugs, Aspergillus, Lesser Cornstalk Borers, and general weather conditions have combined to present some challenges.

We had the hottest Summer on record in the Georgia Peanut Belt. Also, there was prolonged drought in many of our peanut counties.

Many grades have been reported to be lower than recent years. Farmers report multiple crops on the vines which makes determining harvest time more difficult. Also, many pods have a blank where a peanut should be, most likely due to excessive heat.

So with all this said could there possibly be any good news?

Well, it has been said that God looks out for fools and little children...Early in this season many in the industry lamented the ills of a surplus of peanuts...I think that has been taken care of this year...question is, which are we? Fools or little children!

With the surplus depleted and cotton prices very strong for next year peanut prices will have to increase sharply if farmers are going to plant peanuts in 2011 and the market should be such to be able to afford stronger prices to the grower. For growers who survive this year that is all good news.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Looking to 2011

This year has been an interesting year with great expectations and dashed hopes.

Damage from Burrower bugs has caused problems we have not ever seen in any significance. High nighttime temperatures caused an increase in Aspergillus. Drought reduced yields and grades have been quite low. It is safe to say at this point Mother nature has taken care of any discussion of a surplus of peanuts.

Complicate this with equally reduced cotton yields and even with increased prices for cotton many farmers find themselves in a difficult situation and wonder what 2011 will hold for them.

For 2011 peanut prices will have to increase if farmers plant them. Cotton this week was over a dollar a pound and contracts at two cents off of basis for next year are up to right at 83 cents. Some experts say cotton prices will go higher next year.

From the work done by the University's National Center for Peanut Competitiveness we know that in Georgia it will take at least $515 to $538 per ton to compete for acres with 83 cent cotton. What is more, uncommitted peanuts in the hands of farmers this year should still likely face some upside potential with some offerings already at $485.

Looking forward, the state climatologist says the current weather pattern will continue an that the drought will extend in to 2011 with hotter and drier conditions than normal. How long the pattern continues is yet to be known but it could well mean we go in to the season with inadequate soil moisture in some areas.

On the consumption front there are some bright spots. First, peanut butter sales are at a record high pushing consumption to record levels. Also, exciting news from Planters. Coming out in a couple months is the "Five Alarm" dry roasted peanuts. I am well convinced we could see a mini boom in the snack nut market with this introduction. The introduction of honey roast, now two decades ago, caused a real growth in the peanut market. This product has potential to have a similar, if perhaps smaller impact.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mexican Peanut Mole

Mexican Peanut Mole

10 oz. can Rotelle Mexican Lime and Cilantro
½ c. creamy peanut butter
6 oz. can pineapple juice
1/3 cup chicken broth
1 TBSP. honey
1 TBSP. brown sugar
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. dried basil
½ tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
In a sauce pan with a wire whisk mix the ingredients and bring to a boil. Continue over low medium heat for about ten to twelve minutes until the sauce becomes consistent and the tomatoes are cooked well. This sauce is hard to over-cook if you keep whisking. Serve over pork or poultry. Top with chopped peanuts, whole kernel corn, and fiesta blend cheese for an added touch.

Savory Cornbread and Honey/Cinnamon Peanut Spread

Savory Corn Bread

1 pkg. Martha White Mexican Cornbread Mix
1 egg
2/3 cup milk
¼ cup cocktail peanuts chopped
¼ cup white whole kernel corn

Mix ingredients and bake according to directions on the package.

Honey/Cinnamon Peanut Spread

½ cup creamy peanut butter
½ tsp cinnamon
2 TBSP Honey

In a mixing bowl with a hand mixer blend the ingredients until fully mixed and the texture is silky.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Belgian Waffle with Maple Peanut Sauce

Maple Peanut Sauce

½ c maple syrup
¼ c creamy peanut butter

In a sauce pan combine the syrup and PB and with a wire whisk over medium heat blend the ingredients together in to a creamy sauce.

Serve over Belgian waffles with fruit and whipped topping (optional.)

Top with chopped peanuts.

Mandarin Orange - Peanut Butter Pie

8 oz. Lite Cool Whip
8 oz. fat free cream cheese
¼ c. creamy peanut butter
¼ c. granulated sugar
9” graham cracker pie crust
11 oz. can mandarin oranges

2 TBSP granulated sugar
1 tsp corn starch

Combine the first four ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with hand mixer until the batter becomes a silky mixture. Put the batter in the pie crust and put in the refrigerator while you prepare for the next step.

Drain the can of mandarin oranges saving the juice in a small sauce pan. With a wire whisk blend the 2 TBSP of sugar and the tsp of corn starch in to the mandarin orange juice. Bring the heat to high and continue whisking until the mixture comes to a boil. Lower heat and continue to whisk at a boil for about three minutes. Remove from the heat and let set as you continue preparation of the pie.

Remove the pie from the refrigerator and in a circular pattern place the orange wedges on top of the pie. Take the saucepan with the glaze in it and stir until the glaze begins to thicken. Pour the glaze evenly across the top of the pie.

Put the pie back in the refrigerator for a minimum of three hours to set.
Optional: Serve with whipped topping.

What Can We Do About the Weather

Well we needed a bit of a shower in places to make the dry land peanuts where we could dig them. At the same time cotton farmers certainly didn't want rain and those who had peanuts on the top of the ground didn't need it either. A small shower would have been tolerable but not a couple inches and then the weather cooling off after the front goes through.

This is kind of an insult to injury situation. Too hot and no rain and now rain and too cool. I guess I am never satisfied.

Someone told me the other day at Plains at the peanut festival how the farmers were going to make a lot on cotton because the price was over a dollar. I reminded them most farmers had already booked most of what they would produce and for the guy who booked too much he would have to buy it at that price to cover his needs and would lose money.

It takes a very dedicated and special person to farm with the risk it entails.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Where is Fall

Here we are in the hottest Summer on record in South Georgia. It is supposed to feel like Fall but even though this morning was a bit cooler I still don't feel it.

Peanut prediction models continue to show a yield decline. One county agent told me the dry land peanuts he has looked at have mold on the kernels when they shell the peanuts to look at them. The hope of rain from the active hurricane season we were to have just never came. There have also been reports of Seg. 2 peanuts which would indicate damage due to the dry weather. The ground where farmers can't irrigate is hard and we really need a rain just to get where we can dig in those fields. As if this is not bad enough the State Climatologist says the drought will likely continue in 2011.

It is heartbreaking to me to talk to farmers who I know are good farmers and are telling me they may not be able to farm next year. The concern is this may be the straw which broke the camel's back. It costs so much to make a crop on a commercial sized family farm and when you look at losses of half to three quarters of a million dollars that is hard to overcome.

I think all the talk about a surplus of peanuts has pretty much evaporated with the excessive heat and drought.

If I was a farmer with un-contracted, irrigated peanuts I would be as patient as the banker would let me be because I truly believe the price should improve from this point forward.

Now for 2011, if cotton prices hold it is going to be hard for the industry to excite farmers about planting peanuts in lieu of cotton unless pre-plant contracts for peanuts have a 5 for the first number and in some areas that number may even need to have a 5 or better as the second number.

I have been looking at the National Center for Peanut Competitiveness representative farms and those farms support my gut feel.

One bright spot came when a farmer told me his input costs were down from last year on a per unit basis.

Sadly, we could have used some disaster assistance for last year's wet harvest or for this year's excessive heat and drought but USDA chose to help farmer in Arkansas but little anywhere else and Congress failed dismally by not passing a disaster bill which would have helped farmers across the country. Don't fuss and ask why we should have the government bail out farmers, farm programs have stabilized food prices and just think about going to the store and finding empty shelves and prices double or triple what they are now. It is good business for everyone who likes to eat.

I am pretty well convinced many farmers have found themselves in a debt crisis but it seems Wall Street speculators are more important than the folks who feed and clothe us.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Georgia Peanut Tour -- day two

Todd Powell, a Marion County farmer discussed the challenges he has faced this year in producing his peanut crop. He runs a very conservative farm and has pine seedlings as a non-traditional crop enterprise.

It has been a hot dry year in his area and his irrigated peanuts look good but the cost is extreme.

The Georgia Peanut Tour went through the Lance factory in Columbus in the morning and then began farm tours this afternoon.

The next stop will be Chase Farms in Oglethorpe.

I have had the special pleasure of having Gary Black ride with me today. Gary is a long time friend and though I cannot, as a representative of the Commission, endorse him I am glad that things look favorable for him. If he gets to be a big successful politician I live with the confidence he will still be my friend above all.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

September 14 -- I wish this was our entire crop

I was on my way to the Georgia Peanut Tour in Americus and went on one of my shortcuts to get here from Tifton. I went Tifton to Warwick to Vienna and then to Americus.

Northern Tift County looked pretty good, northern Turner County was dry and showed the hot dry summer, Arabi in southern Crisp was really dry, the Arabi/Warwick highway was like a roller coaster with ups and downs, Coney road in northern Crisp looked like the Garden of Eden and then as I went in to Dooly County it got dry again, and on my way to Americus from Vienna I came across this field. These are dryland peanuts southwest of Vienna and east of the Flint River. I wish so badly the Georgia crop all looked like these peanuts and frankly this field. Then as I crossed the river into Sumter County the conditions were the worst of the trip. This bad streak goes west to Early County and East toward Dublin. It is easy with a little travel to see the fact, Mother Nature can be a bit fickle.

Ag and Patriot Day in Rochelle

This past Saturday Rochelle, Georgia had their annual Ag and Patriotism Day. It was hot and the gnats were there and so was the Peanut Commission with those freshly cooked, southern fried peanuts.

Look at those tractors. The world would have been really hungry if those hadn't come along. Now they are about like toys compared to the modern tractors of today.

Georgia Peanut Tour and Other Info.

Go to the Georgia Peanut Commission website to see YouTube videos, photos, and the Peanut Tour blog to keep up with the 2010 Georgia Peanut Tour. www.gapeanuts.com

2010 Georgia Peanut Tour on Twitter

For updates on the Georgia Peanut Tour on Twitter go to www.twitter.com/georgiapeanuts

Crop Conditions

Many of the farmers I have been talking to and county agents as well tell me next year will be a tough situation for many farmers.

The heat and drought has taken its toll on many farmers and I am hearing reports of farmers who will not be able to farm again next year in many areas.

Looking at crop conditions it is very spotty. I can find peanuts and cotton which are absolutely beautiful but I can find more it seems which look very very bad.

At this juncture I am very curious as to our ability to make the 3400 pound peanut yield the last crop report suggested. Where farmers did make yields the cost is prohibitive for profitability. The other thing I am hearing is lower grades than in the past several years.

Complicate this with higher cotton prices and the farmers who may survive are telling me they need a $500 peanut contract to encourage them to plant peanuts in lieu of cotton. Remember cotton does not require the rotation peanuts does.

Georgia Peanut Tour

The hot topics session has begun and the first speaker is Scott Angle, the Dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at the University of Georgia.

His message is not one which is pleasant. Discussion of selling research farms, reduction in the local Cooperative Extension Staff, all of the changes will be noticeable. The budget has dictated these changes and we will likely not again see those programs restored. They have to deal with record enrollment and maintaining the teaching programs.

Georgia Agriculture actually needs trained employees.

Another factor in academia is that we cannot be everything to everyone anymore. This is going to be across the nation and not just in Georgia. There will have to be cooperation with the other Land Grant Universities to maximize resources.

Use of technology will have to be used more.

The UGA College of Ag budget has been cut 25% but other Universities have taken even deeper cuts.

The mission remains the same but the delivery may be quite different.

Another change which will have a profound impact on the peanut industry is the hiring of, with the help of the University of Georgia Research Foundation, a legume geneticist who will assist in genetic mapping, marker assisted selection to assist our breeding programs.

Georgia may become the leadeer in this area and has a great program for public breeding and the inclusion of this position will serve to super charge this effort.

UGA will be in the peanut breeding program for the long term.

The economy is currently having a negative impact at the federal level but the State budget seems to be improving a bit.

Earmarks are necessary for ag research when there is noone else will fund the research. These are the core programs on which everything else is developed. Many of the earmarks go toward research which developes sustainable methods of producing. Companies don't always want to fund research which will reduce their business. Peanut farmers have benefitted from earmarks and therefore the peanut industry has benefitted through a continued stable supply.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Crop Conditions

I know it has been a while since I have been on but sometimes you just don't have much to say.

Today I have something to say. Frank McGill who was the peanut expert in Georgia for decades and is still respected once told me it was foolish to predict a peanut crop on the 4th of July. Now we plant a bit later and so the same may be true even for the 4th of August. A lot can still happen between now and harvest.

June and July were among the hottest on record and currently Albany, Georgia which is in the heart of the peanut belt of Georgia is running a ten inch rainfall deficit. It seems that rains have been very irregular and for some reason the place which gets rain today also gets it tomorrow. It is a bit feast and famine.

One thing I can say for certain if this weather does not change the peanut crop and crops in general are going to be hurt pretty bad.

Last week on my travels through south Georgia I saw cotton which was about 8 inches tall blooming out the top (not a good situation), I saw cotton which was wilted, I saw soybeans which had drawn up from the heat and drought. I also saw several fields of peanuts which were not yet lapping and the worst, the plants were only about 8 inches wide in the row.

I am not sure non-farm folks could understand my next statement but I am actually praying for a tropical storm with lots of rain and no wind. The folks who are harvesting corn may not agree with me on this but we need a good soaking rain and for temperatures to moderate a bit, especially the nighttime temps which also hurt peanut yield and lead to lessened quality as well due to the potential for A flaavus contamination.

And for irrigated producers it just means cost is going up.

Well, just keep the faith and keep the prayers coming.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Peanut Planting Coming to a Close

Peanut planting is coming to a close and I am pretty certain we did not plant what the earlier planting intentions said. I will really be a bit surprised if we increased much at all over last year's acreage. The National Center for Peanut Competitiveness told us early on to compete fully with cotton acres we would have to have a $475 contract and contracts never really made it there except for some sweetheart deals.

With cotton seeming to remain strong and the fact that all predictions seem to say cotton will be even stronger next year it will be interesting to see where the 2011 contracts finally end up.

Since we were forced in to the marketing loan program in 2002 we have certainly ridden a roller coaster in the market place.

As far as the crop conditions we look really good at this point, maybe the best start on a crop in years. High temps this week are going to zap the dryland pretty quickly. That is not bad at this point because we have yet to stress the crop and it has been my observation the best peanut crops are stressed early and get rain during podset.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tortellini with Creamy Peanut Sauce

2 - 9 oz. Buitoni Spinach Cheese Tortellini
1 - 12 oz. can evaporated milk
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
¼ tsp. salt
1/3 cup Finely shredded Italian Blend Cheese (mozzarella, provolone, parmesan, romano, fontina, and Asiago)
1 Tbsp. all purpose flour
½ of an 8 oz. jar of Mezzetta sun-ripened, dried tomatoes
Cocktail peanuts to chop for garnishing
Peanut oil

On a cutting board liner chop a handful of cocktail peanuts to use as a garnish and put them in a dish.

On the same liner take half of the jar of tomatoes and dice them up. Put the tomatoes in a large glass mixing bowl.

Cook the tortellini according to directions.

While the pasta is cooking begin your sauce.

Over low heat in a sauce pan, with a wire whisk blend the evaporated milk, the peanut butter, the Italian seasoning, and the salt until blended. Sprinkle in the flour gently and slowly as you continue to whisk the sauce. Continue whisking while adding the Italian blend cheese and whisk until the cheese is melted and fully mixed in to make a creamy sauce.

When the pasta is done drain it and put it in the bowl with the tomatoes and toss it all together. Then pour the sauce in the bowl and continue to toss until everything is mixed together.

Serve in a bowl and garnish with the chopped peanuts and a sprinkling of the shredded Italian cheese.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Rainfall Deficit

Well now, yesterday was the first day since Halloween that the mercury got to 80 degrees.

We are also about three inches below normal on rainfall for 2010.

Corn is certainly having a bit of a time getting up to a stand, the sub-surface moisture is still adequate, some spots are even boggy, there is cotton still being picked from last year's crop, and to say that the situation is a bit odd is an understatement.

I heard a climatologist last week explain this as a part of the El Nino cooling in the Pacific.

On another note cotton prices seem to be poised to rise if there is no major world economic failure. This from a cotton market expert who said stocks are low and the only thing that can cause a problem is the general economy having a major downturn.

I would say this could make for a very interesting peanut market at the end of 2010.

Friday, March 5, 2010

President Adams' Budget

I along with about 100 percent of the folks in Georgia Agriculture were appalled by the budget cuts proposed for the University of Georgia. Essentially a fourth of the cuts came, disproportionately, out of the College of Agriculture.

The biggest uprising came from his suggestion to do away with 4-H and sell the camps at Rock Eagle and Jekyll Island. That is expected when you look at the number of children currently in the 4-H program and also the fact that there are many more of us who are products of 4-H.

I hope we will not lose sight of the other cuts he proposed. Eliminating half of the County Extension offices in the state would have far reaching impact and it would not be good. Margins on our farms today are as small as they have been in decades. Farmers are struggling to meet their cash flow and seldom are we able to build any equity...in fact many farmers find themselves in the unfortunate situation of farming up their equity.

Farmers need to have ready access to the results of research which will help them find opportunities to earn a profit. The County Agent is the one who can get them this information. To eliminate County Agents creates other hardships within the system. Specialists who provide the information to the County Agents and do applied research will become nothing more than area agents and they will not have the time to do the applied research which proves core research and its use on the farm. Also, last year the Peanut Commission funded local research plots with a dozen county agents in Georgia. This allows farmers to see various research trials and the results locally. I hope you get the picture on why eliminating half the County Agents in this state is a bad idea.

Let's then shift to the closing of critical research stations. Let me use Atapulgus as an example. The research station at Atapulgus has a long and sordid history. Researchers have done everything they can wrong there to build up disease, weed, nematode, and other pest pressures. Sounds terrible doesn't it? We should close it and sell it, Right???

Absolutely not! We need that facility to test the results of research findings, to do variety trials of new varieties so we can understand how they respond under the worst of conditions. Growing peanuts in a greenhouse can be pretty simple once you learn the technique. Growing peanuts with everything Mother Nature can throw at you like at Atapulgus is where the rubber hits the road.

I know we seem to be being used as a pawn in a chess game between the UGA and the Legislature but frankly agriculture in Georgia is way to important to be playing games with.

I hope this fact is not lost on the leaders of this state.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Winter Meeting Season

We have been in the midst of Winter Meeting Season so I have done a pretty poor job of updating my post.

March is pretty full yet. I have five work days in which to schedule anything and know I have at least one meeting to schedule yet in the month.

Next Sunday we will be at the Atlanta Motor Speedway doing a promotion again this year. Last year we had a great day at the race and this year we are ready for a repeat.

Peanut farmers and their families can get a discounted ticket. Contact the Peanut Commission for the information you need to do this.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Georgia Peanut Farm Show

Thursday we will have the annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show at the Civic Center in Albany. This is an educational event where farmers can learn about and even see what is new in producing peanuts.

We have an exhibit floor full and will even provide lunch for our farmers.

I love working with farmers. They feed, house, and clothe us. What a noble occupation.

It is going to rain Thursday so I look forward to seeing all of our farmers there.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

It's Cold Outside

This sort of reminds me of those Winters we had years ago where there was ice on the water trough.

It has been a long time since we have had sustained cold like this. You can pretty much bet it has killed some bugs and weeds this year. I hope this is the start of a perfect growing season. I want just one of those before I retire.

There is sure a lot of uncertainty right now. The Cotton Market is seeming to trend stronger and an increase of a million acres, experts say would not glut the market given the current carry-in numbers.

Farmers are telling me that $425 on peanuts will tend to cause plantings to be pretty conservative, probably not much different than last year. If cotton, corn and bean prices are even stronger then we could actually see a decline in acres of peanuts from last year.

I think the situation is even more tenuous in some of the other states. Growers in Texas are telling me they can't keep doing what they have been doing because they are going broke. From the numbers I am seeing off of the representative farms I don't think these farmers are lying to me. I wish some folks in the industry would take a look at what the representative farms are showing right now; Spend time, understand farm cost structures, and learn from the numbers what is going on out on the farm.

Well we will know something pretty soon because farmers are going to have to line up financing and make their cropping decisions. They may have some flexibility but in late February when corn planting starts in the southern tier decisions will soon become etched in stone.