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.