Tour attendees visited the farm of Sedrick Rowe in Americus, Georgia, to learn more about organic peanut production. Rowe is a first-generation farmer who started growing organic peanuts two years ago. He is currently growing 12 acres of organic peanuts in Americus and 12 acres of organic peanuts in Dougherty County, Georgia. He grows corn for his rotation crop and grows rye and wheat for a cover crop. Rowe planted the peanut variety Georgia-12Y this year. He currently markets his peanuts through a combined effort with other organic growers through the Georgia Organic Peanut Association. Some of the organic peanuts are sold to Georgia Grinders Peanut Butter.
Rowe says the main issues he has faced with growing organic peanuts is weed control with the limited amount of chemicals he can use. Attendees on the tour were able to view Rowe’s field and see some of the morningglory weed that Rowe had issues with this year. Rowe uses a Kubota M7060 tractor, a rolling cultivator to loosen the soil and help control weeds and weed wiper. He also hand pulls some of the weeds in the field. He also uses a two-row peanut digger at harvest. This year he is purchasing a peanut combine from Ag Pro in Blakely to harvest his peanuts.
Founded in 2019, the Georgia Organic Peanut Association (GOPA) is a farmer-owned cooperative incorporated in the state of Georgia to market USDA Certified Organic peanuts and other agricultural products. The cooperative’s small farmers come from across the state and have almost 50 years of combined experience growing organic crops. The organization is committed to bringing added value to established farming operations and to creating new opportunities for small and beginning producers in the region.
In 2018, with financial support from the USDA Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement and the Bradley-Turner Foundation, Georgia Organics led a one-year project to develop a supply chain and marketplace around Certified Organic peanuts that could support small farmers.