Welcome to the 31st annual Georgia Peanut Tour

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Glen Harris – 2017 Georgia Peanut Tour Chairman

Welcome to the 2017 Georgia Peanut Tour. Whether this is your frrst time with us or you are a “Peanut Tour Veteran,” we are honored and privileged to have you join us again on our 31st annual tour. Like all of the previous peanut tours, you will be immersed in one of Georgia’s most important agricultural crops from the field to the manufacturer. We sincerely appreciate each of you for joining us on this exciting tour and hope, through the experience of this tour, you will understand and appreciate the heritage of peanut production in our state. Each of us engaged in the peanut industry – farmers, buyers, processors, researchers, Extension personnel, Georgia Peanut Commission representatives and everyone in between, are proud Georgia is the leading peanut producer in the United States, and we are all the more happy you could join us for the next three days as our special guests!

The 31st annual Georgia Peanut Tour will kick off on the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 19, with a “Hot Topics” symposium located at the Merry Acres Conference Center in Albany, Georgia. Expert speakers will address the current status of our peanut crop and also focus on the importance of University research in sustaining peanut production in Georgia. Symposium speakers will discuss recent innovations and research in peanut production, breeding, pest management, engineering, storage and handling, and processing.

Day two is jam-packed starting with a field visit to watch peanuts being dug and inverted. Then, on to a unique Georgia peanut experience, to visit and meet a former president of the United States of America at his childhood home; one of the most famous Georgia Peanut farmers ever, Jimmy Carter. From there, we will visit a University of Georgia experiment station, a seed peanut facility, a peanut buying point and a second field visit to see peanuts being picked after they have dried. On day three, we will visit the USDA National Peanut Lab and a key food safety company. And as always, we will eat well on the tour including Southern barbeque and a low country boil. In addition, you will hear directly from farmers and county agents at the field stops about the challenges they face and the solutions they adopt to produce a vibrant peanut crop. Further, you will hear from researchers and Extension faculty at UGA about their efforts to find innovative ways to aid farmers and improve peanut production. Most of this effort is funded through the Georgia Peanut Commission, which invests money from growers today for better production in the future.

Again, on behalf of the Peanut Tour Committee, made up of members from the USDA-ARS Peanut Lab, the Georgia Peanut Commission and the University of Georgia, we warmly welcome you to the 31st annual Georgia Peanut Tour! We hope, over the next few days, you will learn about the complexity of the peanut industry in Georgia and the personal commitments from all involved in producing the world’s finest peanuts! We hope our events will allow for fellowship and you enjoy Georgia’s renowned hospitality. We offer our sincere thanks to all the sponsors, who through their generosity, help make this tour possible.

31st annual Georgia Peanut Tour set for Sept. 19-21, 2017

gpt_logoThe thirty-first annual Georgia Peanut Tour will be held Sept. 19-21, 2017, in Albany, Georgia, and the surrounding area. The tour brings the latest information on peanuts while giving a first-hand view of industry infrastructure from production and handling to processing and utilization. The tour is organized by the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, USDA-ARS National Peanut Laboratory, and the Georgia Peanut Commission. Each year, the tour brings nearly 200 attendees from all over the United States and abroad to learn and see first-hand the level of technology involved in producing high-quality peanuts in Georgia. The tour committee is working on the schedule for 2017 so stay tuned for more updates, registration information and a tour schedule in the future.

For more information, contact Hannah Jones at   hannah@gapeanuts.com or call at 229-386-3475.

2017 Tour Schedule
Maps & Driving Directions – Wed., Sept. 20 and Thurs., Sept. 21
Print registration form
View Sponsorship Packet

The Grimes Family – A meticulous, high-yield crop farmer

Tga-foty14-philip-grimeshe first stop on the Georgia Peanut Tour for Thursday morning featured the Grimes family farm in Tifton, Ga. Philip and Andrew Grimes visited with attendees about their family farm. Both Philip and Andrew have been honored with awards through the years for their efficient production of peanuts and farming in general.

A meticulous, high-yield crop farmer, Philip is admired as one of the best farmers in South Georgia. He has been recognized on the state level for producing high peanut yields for more than 20 consecutive years. A conservation farmer, he uses cover crops and has installed grassed waterways, terraces, and ponds on his land.

Grimes has farmed for 37 years. He grows peanuts, cotton, cantaloupes, broccoli, snap beans and corn on his 2,210-acre farm. As a result of his high peanut yields, he has been a longtime member of the Georgia Peanut Achievement Club. He also raises high-yield cotton, and his produce crops are consistently high in quality. He plants a portion of his land specifically to attract wildlife.

As a result of his success as crop farmer, Grimes was selected as the 2014 Georgia winner of the Swisher Sweets/Sunbelt Expo Southeastern Farmer of the Year award and named the overall winner during the 2014 Sunbelt Ag Expo. He was chosen Farmer of the Year over nine other state winners who were finalists for the award.

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His irrigated per acre yields include 6,440 pounds of peanuts from 660 acres, 1,405 pounds of cotton from 890 acres, 6,500 cantaloupes from 360 acres, 600 boxes of broccoli from 90 acres, 8,500 pounds of snap beans from 105 acres and 265 bushels of corn from 100 acres.

Grimes keeps detailed farming records, and has since he began farming. “I have records on planting dates, yields, rotations, sprays, varieties, fertilizers, and I note what works and what doesn’t work,” Grimes says.

“I know the fields I farm well, for instance, which ones need more potassium fertilizer,” he adds. Splitting fertilizer applications is just one practice he uses that pays off, especially during years when heavy rains can leach fertility from the root zone.

His farm has 45 center pivots for irrigation, and he has ponds holding some 150 acres of water. He also uses global positioning guidance on his tractors. “This innovation has improved our planting and harvesting,” he adds.

His farm benefits from extensive cover crops. He especially likes rye as a cover. “Soil fertility is often higher after rye,” Grimes says. He also notes that following crops put out roots that follow the same channels in the soil established by the rye roots.

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He has invested in a peanut shelling plant and buying point, along with cantaloupe packing facilities. The peanut facility shells 35,000 tons yearly for the edible market. His cantaloupe facility provides grading, cooling and shipping for his crop. “We also repack on a limited basis for other individuals and businesses in other times of the year,” Grimes adds.

Grimes didn’t grow up on a farm. “My father died at age 36 when I was five years old,” he recalls. “I had a garden in my back yard, and at an early age, I knew I wanted to farm.” While in school, he spent his summer months working for others on farms. He got married in 1975 and worked at his father-in-law’s farm. He started growing more crops on his own after his father-in-law retired from farming.

In 1990, he became a partner with a friend, H.C. Dodson, who was looking to retire from farming. Dodson ran Docia Farms, the business Grimes now operates. His association with Dodson allowed Grimes to increase his acreage.

“My operation has continued to grow over the years,” he says. Dodson died seven years ago. He and Grimes shared a similar farming philosophy. For instance, they fertilized for high yields. With irrigation, they made sure their crops never suffered from lack of water. They also were timely in applying products such as fumigants, insecticides, fungicides and herbicides that would help insure high yielding and high quality crops.

At the state level, he attends the Georgia Peanut Achievement Club seminars. He is also active in Georgia Farm Bureau and the Georgia Fruit & Vegetable Association. He is a past member of the Georgia Agribusiness Council. In addition to the Georgia Peanut Tour, he has also hosted visits by members of the U.S. Congress and many other tours at his farm.

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Philip and his late wife, Jane, have three children, daughters Mandy and Brandi and son Andrew. Both Andrew and Mandy’s husband Gator Walker work full time on the farm. Philip says they are part of a very dependable work force.

Andrew received the Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award from the Georgia Peanut Commission and BASF in 2015 and has been nominated as one of the state finalists for the 2016 Georgia Young Farmer’s Association Farm Family Award.

View the 2016 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Premium Peanut LLC – A new company with extensive peanut experience

The second stop on the tour today featured the newest grower-owned shelling plant in Georgia – Premium Peanut LLC. This makes the third grower owned shelling plant to open in the past 15 years in Georgia. Premium Peanut was formed in the fall of 2014, with more than 200 grower owners and seven buying points. Following a year of construction in Douglas, Georgia, the plant began shelling peanuts in 2015.

Premium Peanut held their official ribbon cutting and open house April 22, 2016. Approximately 400 shareholders, dignitaries, community supporters and guests came out to help the company celebrate.

“We have more than 200 dedicated grower owners. They are not just growing peanuts for us,” says Karl Zimmer, president and CEO of Premium Peanut LLC. “They own shares in the company and they are invested in the future of the company.”

img_7546According to Kent Fountain, chairman of the board at Premium Peanut, the shelling plant will always have a steady supply of 140,000 tons of peanuts year in and year out. The company has spent a great deal of time and effort to develop export markets to Europe, South America and Asia.

At Premium Peanut, if a grower purchased shares in the company, they must grow and deliver farmerstock peanuts. This helped promote broad ownership in the company, Zimmer adds.

“This also helps ensure visibility and stability throughout the supply chain, and is in-line with one of our objectives, which is to help stabilize the market for South Georgia producers.”

Stabilizing the market is just one reason growers such as Elton Brooks decided to invest in Premium Peanut.

“I chose to invest in Premium Peanut because it means a lot to our area as far as jobs and the economy, as well as the peanut farmers. It helps to stabilize the acres and prices so we can plan for the future a lot better,” Brooks says.

All three of the grower-owned shelling plants are very similar in the fact that growers invested in the capital investment, must guarantee a certain quantity of peanuts to the shelling plants and the plants are the only new 5th generation LMC-designed shelling facilities. The other two grower-owned shelling plants are Tifton Quality Peanuts om Tifton, Georgia, and American Peanut Growers Group in Donalsonville, Georgia.

At Premium Peanut, each of the seven buying points provided capital up-front to enable the project to get off the ground. Once shares were sold to growers, the buying points were reimbursed. The plant also received funding from AgSouth and a New Markets Tax Credit from the U.S. Treasury Department.

View the 2016 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Grilled PB&Js – Always a tour favorite

During registration and Hot Topics, tour attendees had an opportunity to sample grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches made by Tyron Spearman, executive director of the National Peanut Buying Points Association. Each year, Spearman joins attendees on the tour and gives them a taste of America’s favorite sandwich with a unique twist. Spearman says the key to a great grilled PB&J is to mix your peanut butter and jelly together first before spreading it on the bread. After that, you can butter each side of the sandwich and grill it just like you would a grilled cheese. Be sure to try it at home!

View the 2016 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

 

Hot Topics focus on the University of Georgia peanut programs

monfort-at-hot-topicsThe 30th annual Georgia Peanut Tour kicked off on the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 13, with a “Hot Topics” symposium located at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture. Expert speakers addressed the current status of Georgia’s peanut crop and also the importance of University research in sustaining peanut production in Georgia. Symposium speakers will discuss recent innovations and research in peanut production, breeding, pest management, engineering, storage and handling, and processing.

University of Georgia and USDA scientists conduct research and extension programs on all aspects of peanut production. The majority of these scientists are located at the University of Georgia’s Coastal Plain Experiment Station at Tifton. The remaining scientists are located at the Georgia Station at Griffin, the main campus at Athens, and the USDA’s National Peanut Research Lab at Dawson.

Producing a peanut crop involves a broad spectrum of cultural practices. These include: agronomics, fertilization, cultivar selection, pest management (weeds, insects, diseases), irrigation, mechanization, economics and marketing. The University of Georgia Peanut Team produces a guidebook annually for growers to use throughout the production season. The 2016 Georgia Peanut Update is available online for growers. The University of Georgia also has numerous publications related to peanut production and many of the publications are available through the UGA Cooperative Extension county offices.

View the speaker presentations by clicking here.

View the 2016 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Welcome to the 30th annual Georgia Peanut Tour

2016_gptlogoWelcome to the 2016 Georgia Peanut Tour! This year marks a major milestone for the Georgia Peanut Tour; it’s the 30th anniversary and we are overjoyed you joined us for the occasion! Like all previous peanut tours, you will be immersed in one of Georgia’s most important agricultural crops from the field to the manufacturer. We sincerely appreciate each of you joining us on this exciting tour and hope, through the experience of the tour; you will understand and appreciate the heritage of peanut production in our state. Each of us engaged in the peanut industry – farmers, buyers, processors, researchers, Extension personnel, Georgia Peanut Commission representatives and everyone in between, are proud Georgia is the leading peanut producer in the United States, and we are all the more happy you could join us for the next three days as our special guests!

The 30th annual Georgia Peanut Tour will kick off on the afternoon of Tuesday, Sept. 13, with a “Hot Topics” symposium located at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture. Expert speakers will address the current status of Georgia’s peanut crop and also the importance of University research in sustaining peanut production in Georgia. Symposium speakers will discuss recent innovations and research in peanut production, breeding, pest management, engineering, storage and handling, and processing.

While on the Peanut Tour, you will be able to hear directly from farmers about the challenges they face and the solutions they adopt to produce a vibrant peanut crop. You will witness multiple facets of peanut production, post-harvest handling and processing. Further, you will hear from researchers and Extension faculty from the University of Georgia about their efforts to find innovative ways to aid farmers and improve peanut production. Most of this effort is funded through the Georgia Peanut Commission, which invests money from growers today for better production in the future.

Again, on behalf of the Georgia Peanut Tour committee, a team comprising members from the USDA-ARS Peanut Lab, the Georgia Peanut Commission and the University of Georgia, we warmly welcome you to the 30th annual Georgia Peanut Tour! We hope, over the next few days, you will learn about the complexity of the peanut industry in Georgia and the personal commitments from all involved in producing the world’s finest peanuts! We hope our events will allow for fellowship and enjoyment of Georgia’s renowned hospitality. We offer our sincere thanks to all the sponsors, who through their generosity, help make this tour possible.

View the 2016 Georgia Peanut tour Photo Album.

2016 Georgia Peanut Tour set for Tifton area

2016_gptlogoThe thirtieth annual Georgia Peanut Tour will be held September 13-15, 2016, in Tifton, Georgia, and surrounding area. The tour brings the latest information on peanuts while giving a first-hand view of industry infrastructure from production and handling to  processing and utilization. Tour stops will be made in several peanut producing counties including Tift, Irwin, Coffee and Ben Hill County.

Hotel accommodations can be made at the Country Inn & Suites in Tifton by calling 229-382-8100 or the  Comfort Inn & Suites in Tifton by calling 229-382-8250. Rooms are available at the rate of $85.00 plus tax for a standard room. Be sure to ask for the Georgia Peanut Tour room block.

For more information, contact Hannah Jones at hannah@gapeanuts.com or call at 229-386-3475.

Tour Schedule
2016 Georgia Peanut Tour Maps & Driving Directions
View Sponsorship Packet

Peanut Tour showcases Georgia’s 2015 crop

IMG_4804_editThe top peanut-producing state in the country showcased its 2015 crop during the annual Georgia Peanut Tour, which was held Sept. 15-17.

 

The University of Georgia, along with the Georgia Peanut Commission, coordinated the three-day tour, which allowed participants to visit southwest Georgia, home of some of the top peanut producers in the state. The tour, which included farmers, industry personnel and visitors from other countries, educated participants about all aspects of peanut production — from planting and harvesting to the manufacturing of the crop.

Tour attendees learned why peanuts are a high-value crop for Georgia farmers.

“The tour has been excellent. We got to visit a number of sites that showcased Georgia’s peanut production,” said Rajagopalbabu “Babu” Srinivasan, UGA entomologist and chairman of the peanut tour committee. “We got to see farming operations on a big scale, digging and picking. We had a good session at our research station in Attapulgus, Georgia, (Wednesday) that allowed us to highlight our research findings over the years.”

Srinivasan and fellow UGA team members, including plant pathologists, agronomists, entomologists and economists, provided insight as to why peanut production is a complex — but rewarding — process.

“Even though we have a number of people who participate in the peanut tour every year, we have several newcomers. What we wanted to do was show to them everything we could in a couple of days about peanut production. This being the time for harvest, we were able to show them how the peanuts are harvested and processed” Srinivasan said.

The tour included visits to multiple farming operations in Decatur, Grady, Miller and Seminole counties, including John Harrell’s peanut field in Grady County on Thursday.

“I’ve been on every Georgia Peanut Tour since 1999, and this is the first year I haven’t traveled all the way with the tour. This is a highlight of mine, to have the peanut tour on my farm north of Whigham, (Georgia),” Harrell said. “My irrigated peanuts look great. We went through tough times in August, so it’s going to affect these yields on my dryland peanuts.”

Srinivasan said Georgia was expected to grow almost 800,000 acres of peanuts this year. Such an increase was attributed to the poor commodity prices for corn and cotton. While peanut prices are not ideal, they do present better opportunities for profit, which is why achieving high yields is so important for farmers in southwest Georgia.

“Like I said the first day, we grow a lot of peanuts and we grow the world’s finest peanuts. This is the peanut capital of the world,” Srinivasan said. “There’s no other place that could top this, I would say.”

View the 2015 Georgia Peanut Photo Album.

By: Clint Thompson, University of Georgia

Fudge Peanut Buying Point

Attendees were able to visit Fudge Peanut Buying Point in Colquitt, Georgia, on the 29th Annual Georgia Peanut Tour. During the visit participants were able to learn more about the grading process for peanuts and the sorting, drying and storage methods at a buying point. As peanuts enter the buying point the semitrailers of peanuts are dried and then samples are taken from the trailers for grading. The peanuts are graded by employees of the Georgia Federal State Inspection service. Fudge Buying Point currently has 92 dryers that work to dry the peanuts to at least 10% moisture. The dryers are like large hair dryers that are hooked up to the trailers. Sometimes peanuts enter the buying point at 20% moisture level and it can take up to 20 hours to dry the peanuts. At Fudge Buying Point, they are testing moisture sensors in each trailer that will allow them to make sure they are not over drying peanuts. All of the dryers are hooked up to a computer that allows the buying point to change the temperature of all 92 dryers at one time. They take caution to not dry the peanuts too fast which can cause splits or to burn the peanuts. Fudge Buying Point is owned by Birdsong Peanuts.

View the 2015 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.