Redding Honored with Valor Award

July 26, 2015

spgc-15-redding-valorEach year at the Southern Peanut Growers Conference, John Altom with Valent USA Corporation has the pleasure of presenting the Valor award to someone in the industry who exhibits the definition of Valor according to Webster’s dictionary – “strength of mind or spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness; personal bravery.”

This year that award went to Bob Redding, longtime lobbyist in Washington DC for the peanut industry, a job that definitely requires personal bravery to fight political battles for farmers on Capitol Hill.

Redding gave his annual legislative update to the organization with a strong emphasis on the need for growers to be involved in the political process through contributions to political action committees (PACs). “The pressure for fundraising on members of Congress grows every cycle,” said Redding. “Growers need to participate more – it is what it is.”

Redding says financial support for members of Congress is critical to keep advocates for agriculture in office. “The House Ag Committee for us has never been stronger,” said Redding. “Senate Ag Committee’s been very good for us so we feel good about where we are.”

Listen To MP3Interview with Bob Redding, peanut industry lobbyist (MP3)

2015 Southern Peanut Growers Conference Photo Album


Peanut Research Future Includes Georgia Tech

July 26, 2015

spgc-15-brittonGeorgia Tech is new to the peanut research world but Doug Britton who manages the Agricultural Research Program at the university believes they are bringing a new perspective and expertise to the table.

“Georgia Tech has a great engineering and science faculty,” said Britton. “A lot of things that we develop are in manufacturing or other aspects of engineering and bringing some of those ideas, processes and approaches might be useful when we look at some of the agricultural spaces.”

That includes research into new technology such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and sensor platforms that can provides meaningful data for farmers. Britton discussed some of his ideas on the potential for both of those during the opening panel of the 2015 Southern Peanut Growers Conference on Research – The Future is Now.

Listen to my interview with Doug here: Listen To MP3Interview with Doug Britton, Georgia Tech (MP3)

2015 Southern Peanut Growers Conference Photo Album


Bigger Southeast Peanut Crop Looking Good

July 26, 2015

spgc-15-monfortPeanut acreage in the United States this year is up 18%, but in the southeast it’s more like 25% percent – with a 33% increase in Georgia alone.

University of Georgia extension peanut agronomist Scott Monfort gave an overview of the crop at the 2015 Southern Peanut Growers Conference. “We started off kind of bumpy but it’s kind of come out of that and we look very good right now,” said Monfort. “We have a large crop and we are just encouraging growers to keep pushing forward and let’s try to keep this crop moving.”

The increased crop acres this year of course means more peanuts. “It means that we’re going to put some pressure on this industry on where to put this crop going into 2016,” Monfort said. “We’re going to have a tight time here trying to figure out what to do next year.”

Listen to my interview with Scott here:Listen To MP3Interview with UGA extension peanut agronomist Scott Monfort (MP3)

2015 Southern Peanut Growers Conference Photo Album


Florida Congressman Advocates for Agriculture

July 25, 2015

spgc-15-yohoCongressman Ted Yoho (R-FL) is serving his second term as representative of North Central Florida’s 3rd Congressional district which encompasses 13 counties, including two of the largest peanut growing areas of the state – Lafayette and Suwanee counties. “It’s the best district in Florida,” said Yoho after making remarks to the Southern Peanut Growers Conference. “It’s a large, rural, agricultural area and it couldn’t be more perfectly designed for me being a large animal veterinarian for 30 years.”

In his remarks, Yoho stressed the opportunities for agriculture with new trade agreements being negotiated, now that the president has been granted Trade Promotion Authority. “Anytime you can bolster trade, especially for the ag economy, it makes America stronger,” he said. Yoho serves on both the House Agriculture Committee and the Foreign Affairs committee, which both have an interest in pursuing new trade relationships.

In my interview with Rep. Yoho, he also talks about the Clean Water Rule, GMO labeling, Country of Origin Labeling, USDA oversight, budgeting, and immigration. Listen To MP3Interview with Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) (MP3)

Watch a video of Rep. Yoho’s remarks to the SPGC below.

2015 Southern Peanut Growers Conference Photo Album


Deputy Agriculture Secretary Returns to Her Roots

July 24, 2015

spgc-15-hardenIt was a homecoming for Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden at the 2015 Southern Peanut Growers Conference. The number two person at the USDA was raised on a peanut farm in Camilla, Georgia so she felt right at home.

“That’s what qualifies me for my job, that’s what gives me my passion and my love and the ability to help, to listen, to work for this great industry,” she said. “There is nothing more important to me than agriculture. Keeping farmers on the farm and ranchers on the ranch is why I’m in Washington … I have never forgotten where I’m from.”

Harden talked passionately about the future of agriculture and the need to get young people interested in the industry. “I’m talking about what I love, the people I love, the industry I love and it’s future and I encourage you to do the same,” she said.

Listen To MP3Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Krysta Harden at SPGC (MP3)

After her remarks, I interviewed Harden about some of the important issues at USDA – from conservation compliance to funding for research, avian flu and international trade, and more.

Listen To MP3Interview with Krysta Harden (MP3)

2015 Southern Peanut Growers Conference Photo Album


Looking Good in Mississippi

July 24, 2015

spgc-15-malcolmThe peanut crop in Mississippi overall looks real good, but Mississippi Peanut Growers Association executive director Malcolm Broome says there are a few problem areas. “Couple areas in the state were too wet and got late planting and then it went dry and got 100 degree days, but in the last week we’ve gotten rain all across the state so crop should be coming on okay,” he said.

Acreage is up this year in Mississippi, as it is in all the states, although at 35-40,000 acres the Magnolia State still has a ways to go to catch up with its bigger brothers in the southeast. “We’re going to catch up with that 800,000 acres in Georgia pretty quick,” Malcolm joked.

Malcolm says he is pleased with the attendance at this year’s conference in the new location and looking forward to see where they decide it will be held next year. One of the possibilities is Biloxi, Mississippi, so he could be the host sometime in the future!

Listen to my interview with Malcolm here: Listen To MP3Interview with Malcolm Broome, Mississippi Peanut Growers Association (MP3)

2015 Southern Peanut Growers Conference Photo Album


Meet the New Kid at the SPGC

July 24, 2015

spgc-15-alabamaCaleb Bristow is the new executive director for the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, who has been on the job since February. He is pictured here with his predecessors, longtime exec Randy Griggs who retired at the end of 2013, and Jim Cravey, who served as interim director until Caleb was hired. In case you couldn’t figure it out, Caleb is the guy on the left.

This is Caleb’s first SPGC and he is really enjoying it. “From industry reps to the farmers, it’s just a great group of folks,” Caleb said. “We’re all a big family.”

Bristow is from Henry County, Alabama where his family raises peanuts, cotton and catte. He is a two-time Auburn University graduate, earning his master’s degree in agronomy (weed science) in 2012 and his bachelor’s in agronomy and soils in 2010.

Caleb says the peanut crop looks good right now in Alabama. “Acreage is up about 15 percent from what it was last year, still not quite as big as 2012, but as far as the crop itself, everything looks good,” he said.

Listen to my interview with Caleb here: Listen To MP3Interview with Caleb Bristow, Alabama Peanut Producers Association (MP3)

2015 Southern Peanut Growers Conference Photo Album