Port of Savannah: The Southeast Gateway for the U.S.

After seeing peanuts harvested on the farm, tour attendees traveled to Savannah to tour the Georgia Ports Authority’s Garden City Terminal. The Garden City Terminal is the largest single-terminal in North America and serves 20 percent of the United States population and industry. The facility is 1,200 acres and offers nine container berths comprised of nearly 10,000 ft of contiguous space. The terminal is also home to 30 container cranes; the largest on the East Coast.

According to the American Peanut Council (APC), the U.S. is the third largest peanut producer after China and India, and is the leading peanut exporter with an average annual export of 200,000 to 250,000 metric tons. Canada, Mexico, Europe and Japan account for more than 80 percent of U.S. exports. The largest export markets within Europe are the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain.

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Lee Beckmann, manager for government affairs for GPA, visited with the tour attendees during Hot Topics on Tuesday and gave an overview of current port projects. One key project is the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project. Here, the harbor is being dredged to 47 feet to better accommodate vessels. The vessels being used now are 14,000 TEUs – the largest on the East Coast. Currently the channel depth is 42 ft and the project is 50 percent complete. Another major project in the works is the Mason Mega Rail Project. This will end up being the largest intermodal yard for a terminal in the U.S. Currently, phase one is expected to be completed by September 2019 with the first bundle of tracks operational. Phase two is expected to be completed by September 2020.

The Garden City Terminal sees an average of 10,000 truck transactions per day. For single moves, trucks average 33 minutes and for doubles they average 53 minutes. When it comes to the containers they are transporting, the terminal houses 25,000 loaded containers and 35,000 empty containers. Nearly 55 percent of the containers are for imports and 45 percent of exports.

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According to GPA, it received its second busiest month on record for containerized trade in July 2018. This was a 12.7 percent increase compared to July 2017. GPA also said rail cargo at the Garden City Terminal increased by 16 percent (60,000 containers) for a total of 435,000 rail lifts between July 2017 and June 2018. This increase in capacity is a driving force behind making Savannah an even more competitive port option on the East Coast.

When looking at Georgia’s economy, GPA says the logistics industry, including the port, provide a boost to Georgia’s economy. For GPA alone, the following statistics relate to the state of Georgia:

  • 440,000 full and part time jobs
  • $106 billion in sales (11 percent of total sales)
  • $44 billion in state GDP (8 percent of total GDP)
  • $25 billion in income (6 percent of total personal income)
  • $5.9 billion in federal taxes
  • $1.4 billion in state taxes
  • $1.5 billion in local taxes

View the 2018 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album

Like Father, Like Son on Joe Boddiford Farms

The first farm visit on the Georgia Peanut Tour was Joe Boddiford’s Farms. The farm is operated by Joe and his son Knapp. Joe, a third-generation farmer, has been farming for over 45 years and serves on the Georgia Peanut Commission Board. During this farm stop, Joe showed tour attendees an array of tractors used on their farm including an old 1965 3010 John Deere which Joe has actually owned twice. The tractor was bought new by Joe’s father and was what Joe start farming with until he decided to sell it in the 90s.  Ten years or so later, Joe was at a tractor sale in South Carolina and said, “That’s my tractor!” Of course, Joe paid more for it than what he sold it for, but it was well worth it.kb2

Joe’s son, Knapp, is a recent graduate of the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College located in Tifton, Ga. After receiving a degree in diversified agricultural with a concentration in agricultural business, Knapp returned to the family farm where he knew he would always end up. Knapp decided to attend ABAC after graduation instead of just going straight into farming because he wanted to learn more about the business side of agriculture and once at ABAC, he fell in love with the college and the people and knew the knowledge and connections would help him advance on and off his farming operation. Knapp says returning to the farm has been a challenging but rewarding experience, but couldn’t see himself anywhere else. Knapp’s favorite thing about working with his dad is being able to learn from his years of experience but also getting to teach him something new every now and then. One of the most valuable lessons Joe has taught Knapp is the value of a hard day’s work because the whole act of farming is to complete the task on time and to do it well to make a crop. Knapp is already showing much success. In 2016, Knapp was awarded as National FFA Star Finalist in Ag Placement. This means he was one of the top four finalist in the nation in this category and anyone that has worked for someone in the agricultural industry could compete in this category.

While at the farm, attendees were able to see peanuts being dug and harvested, they also had the opportunity to see corn harvesting.  They were even able to see Knapp turn on the irrigation pivots from the touch of button thanks to a mobile app on his phone. Knapp made the comment that he could even turn the pivots on and off while he was in Tifton at college. Kendall Kirk, a precision agricultural engineer with Clemson University made an appearance at this field stop and talked about the research Clemson University is doing and on Joe Boddiford Farms. Kirk and Clemson University has been working with the Boddiford’s for roughly the past five years. He talked to attendees about attendees about the different technology on the tractor.  The main focus Kirk wanted attendees to look at was the automated depth control system on the peanut digger, which is not available commercially yet, but Clemson is in the process of working with AMADAS on putting the system together.kb1

During the visit at Boddiford Farms, tour attendees were able to hear a crop update by Ray Hick, Screven County Extension Agent.  “I deal with homeowners in the urban area, lawn problems. I always say it’s the little old gray-haired lady with the rose bush problems and everything up to the major producers of crops here in the area. I may be in town in the morning then on the farm with a row crop producer talking about his cotton crop or his peanut crop in the afternoon, says Hicks.”  When it comes to challenges farmers have faced in Screven County Hicks goes on to say, “This year the farmers have had a wide diversity of challenges. Of course, we started off being dry, then we got into a wet period and it delayed some of our plantings, so really, we have two different crops in cotton and peanuts. We have an early crop and a late crop. Now with all the wet weather, it has been trying for the producers to keep fungicides on top of the fungicide sprays, but we have not had to turn the irrigation systems on as much so that will be a saving for them at the end of the year.” Ag South Farm Credit also provided boiled peanuts for participants to enjoy during this stop, and for many, this southern staple was first time experience.

View the 2018 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

First Point of Delivery – Tillman and Deal Buying Point

2018_gpt_savannah_0079sOn the first stop of the 32nd annual Georgia Peanut Tour, attendees visited Tillman and Deal Peanut Buying Point in Statesboro, Georgia. The new buying point opened in the fall of 2017 and buys peanuts for Premium Peanut, a peanut sheller based out of Douglas, Georgia. Premium Peanut owns and operates the newest and largest peanut shelling facility in the world. The shelling plant was founded in the fall of 2014 when seven buying points in South Georgia came together to form Premium Peanut. The shelling facility is grower-owned and was designed to integrate the peanut production process, stabilize the market for growers in the region, and ensure a stable supply of peanuts at a competitive cost.

The Premium Peanut shelling facility was designed with the best and newest equipment in the industry, possessing a shelling capacity of over 300,000 tons of peanuts per year. In January of 2016, one month ahead of schedule, shelling operations began on the 2015 harvested crop. In 2018, Premium Peanut expanded to include a filtered crude peanut oil facility located adjacent to the shelling plant. The new operation has the capacity to produce more than 3 million gallons of peanut oil per year.

Tillman and Deal is the first-place farmers deliver their peanuts to at harvest time. The peanut buying point receive, weigh, clean, dry, inspect, grade and prepare peanuts for storage and shelling. All United States produced peanuts must be inspected by the Federal-State Inspection Service at a registered peanut buying point.

2018_gpt_savannah_0076sTillman and Deal buys peanuts from approximately 30 farmers in the area and grades and stores nearly 30,000 tons annually. As peanuts enter the buying point, a sample is taken to determine the moisture level of the peanuts. All peanuts need to be at least 10.5 percent moisture level or below. If the peanuts are above 10.5 percent in moisture then the peanuts are dried in the wagons to decrease the moisture level. The semi-trailers are hooked up to large dryers where air flows through the peanuts and dry them at 105 degrees F. The semi-trailers hold 30 tons of peanuts per load.

2018_gpt_savannah_0107sOnce the peanuts are dry then a sample is taken from the trailer where the peanuts are graded by the Georgia Federal-State Inspection Service. Peanuts are classed by weight, damage and foreign material. If the sample has more than 7 percent foreign material then the peanuts need to run through the cleaner. Once clean, peanuts are put in elevator and placed on a conveyor belt for storage in a warehouse that can hold 15,000 tons of peanuts. Currently, Tillman and Deal only stores the peanut variety, Georgia O6G, in the warehouse on site. All other varieties grown by farmers in the area are shipped directly to Premium Peanut for storage.

Once peanuts leave the buying point and shelling plant then they are shipped by train or semi-trailers to manufacturers who process peanut butter, candy products or delicious roasted peanuts.

View the 2018 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Overview on USAID Peanut Innovation Lab

The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut is part of U.S. government’s strategy to fight hunger and poverty around the world. In 2016, Congress passed the Global Food Security Act, a law that recognizes it is in this country’s national security interest to promote global food security, resilience, and nutrition.

The law called for a national strategy to combat hunger, and Feed the Future is an integral part of that strategy, bringing together all aspects of American ingenuity to empower farmers in partner countries to produce nutritious food for their people.

Through the Peanut Innovation Lab and approximately two dozen other Innovation Labs, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) utilizes the expertise of top U.S. universities to solve food production, storage, processing and marketing challenges that prevent partner countries from producing enough food. These Innovation Labs aren’t physical buildings, but networks of researchers in the United States and abroad working together to improve food security and reduce poverty in key countries.

Dave Hoisington, who has led the Peanut & Mycotoxin Innovation Lab at UGA since 2013 and holds a joint appointment as senior research professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at UGA, continues as director.

2018 Georgia Peanut Crop Update

The Georgia Peanut Tour kicked off with a Hot Topics Seminar on Tuesday, Sept. 18. During the seminar Scott Monfort, University of Georgia Extension peanut agronomist provided an update on the 2018 Georgia peanut crop. According to Monfort, farmers have a very good crop to look at although we have had several challenges that we have had to face in 2018. We’ve had a lot of rain and we usually don’t complain about rain, but this year we’ve had a tremendous amount of rain throughout the growing year and it has caused some of the crop to be quite a bit late. The peanut production has basically divided into two crops this year. We’ve got our early crop and our late crop and for the most part we are just now getting to dig this early crop and it looks pretty good right now. We are dealing with diseases and insect problems as well as some harvest problems just because of the rain we continue to get. We need a good bit of dry weather in order to get these peanuts out of the ground, get them dry and get them harvested and to the buying point. As you are out this week looking at the different processes we go through to harvest this crop you’ll understand more of what I’m talking about here. Some of these areas will be lush and green then some areas will have dry pockets. For the most part this year its average to above average depending on how well the weather holds out and stays hot through October. That’s going to be a big factor here to how this crop turns up. At this point we are saying that we do have a good crop, but we do have quite a few challenges we are facing and dealing with this year.

View the 2018 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Hot Topics Seminar Provides Overview of International Activities

2018_gpt_savannah_0045sThe 32nd annual Georgia Peanut Tour kicked off with a Hot Topics seminar on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at Crosswinds Golf Club in Savannah, Georgia. The seminar provides an update on the 2018 peanut crop as well as an update on the farm bill and other legislative activities that can have an impact on the peanut industry. Each year the seminar also highlights some of the latest hot topics happening in the industry and this year’s special focus included international activities of peanuts. The speakers provided an overview of the USAID Peanut Innovation Lab, economics relating to the import and export market within the peanut industry, research activities around the world and an overview of the port in Savannah.

Click on the links below to view the speaker presentations.

Update on the 2018 Georgia Peanut Crop – Dr. Scott Monfort, University of Georgia Extension Peanut Agronomist

Washington and Farm Bill Update – Dr. Stanley Fletcher, policy professor at Abraham Baldwin Agriculture College’s Center for Rural Prosperity and Innovation

Overview on the USAID Peanut Innovation Lab – Dr. David Hoisington, director of Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Peanut, senior research scientist of Crop and Soil Sciences

Peanut research activities around the world – Dr. Yen-Con Hung, professor of food science and technology at the University of Georgia

Savannah – A port for peanut international trade – Lee Beckmann, manager of governmental affairs with the Georgia Ports Authority (Coming soon!)

Welcome to the 32nd annual Georgia Peanut Tour

Welcome to the 32nd annual Georgia Peanut Tour. This year’s tour chairman Bob Kemerait, University of Georgia Extension plant pathologist, welcomes all attendees, whether this is your first time on the tour or if you are a “peanut tour veteran.” As in previous years, you will be immersed in the production efforts of one of Georgia’s most important agricultural crops and we hope this gives you a better insight not only into the challenges farmers face, but also reasons why we say that the world’s best peanuts are produced here in Georgia. Through the tour, we hope all attendees will come to better understand and appreciate the heritage of peanut production in our state. The 2018 Georgia Peanut Tour is staged in the eastern region of our state’s  production area.  During the tour attendees will be able to see peanut production first-hand while touring four different peanut farms in Screven, Bulloch, Burke and Emanuel County. Attendees will also see research conducted by scientists at the University of Georgia Southeast Research and Education Center in Midville, Georgia; tour a peanut buying point in Statesboro and the Georgia Port Authority in Savannah.

View the 2018 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

2018 Georgia Peanut Tour set for Savannah area

The thirty-second annual Georgia Peanut Tour will be held September 18-20, 2018, in Savannah, 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. Tour stops will be made in several peanut producing counties including Bulloch, Burke, Candler and Screven County.

Attendees can expect to see first-hand nearly every aspect of peanut production in the state. This year’s tour hosts many exciting stops including on-farm harvest demonstrations and clinics, research at the University of Georgia Southeast Georgia Research and Education Center and a tour of the Georgia Port Authority in Savannah.

The tour kicks off this year with the Hot Topics Seminar on Sept. 18 at 3 p.m. at Crosswinds Golf Club, Savannah, Georgia. The seminar topics include an update on the 2018 Georgia peanut crop and a special focus on the export market.

The Georgia Peanut Commission, University of Georgia-Tifton Campus and Griffin Campus, Southwest Research & Education Center, Attapulgus Research & Education Center, and the USDA Agricultural Research Service National Peanut Research Lab coordinate the tour.

Hotel accommodations can be made at the Hilton Garden Inn Savannah Airport in Savannah, Georgia, by calling 912-964-5550. Rooms are available at the rate of $129 plus tax for a standard room. Be sure to ask for the Georgia Peanut Tour room block. The room block deadline is Aug. 19, 2018.

Visit georgiapeanuttour.com to register and view tour schedule. The early bird registration rate is $75 prior to Aug. 10, 2018. For more information, contact Hannah Jones at hannah@gapeanuts.com or call at 229-386-3470.

Register Online
Download Registration Form
Tour Schedule
Wednesday, Sept. 19 – Map & Driving Directions
Thursday, Sept. 20 – Map & Driving Directions
Reserve Hotel Room Online
Download Sponsorship Info

Who are the Bloggers?

Whitney Yarbrough, Joy Crosby and Jessie Bland with the Georgia Peanut Commission. Thanks to Grant Tuttle for the photo.

Whitney Yarbrough, Joy Crosby and Jessie Bland with the Georgia Peanut Commission. Thanks to Grant Tuttle for the photo.

We have enjoyed sharing the stories from the 31st annual Georgia Peanut Tour. Through the tour, attendees have seen peanut harvest first-hand, met former President Jimmy Carter and learned more about all segments of the U.S. peanut industry. This year the blog was prepared by Joy Crosby, Jessie Bland and Whitney Yarbrough with the Georgia Peanut Commission. We hope you enjoy browsing and reminiscing through the blog.

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 either on the tour or through this blog!

View the 2017 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.

Quality Control at JLA

2017_gpt_albany_0456sOn the final stop of the 31st Georgia Peanut Tour, attendees were able to learn about the quality control measures of the industry through utilizing the services of JLA, USA. J. Leek Associates, Inc. was formed in 1990 as a technical services organization providing strategic quality assurance systems in the food and beverage industry. Their experience in analyzing food products spans the global market. From a humble beginning in Southwest Georgia, their business has grown to include locations in Argentina, Brazil, and China. With over five locations across the United States, JLA USA headquarters is located in Albany, Georgia. As a marketer and producer of confidence regarding safety and performance of food and beverage ingredients and products, JLA provides their clients with knowledge and reliable, cost-efficient systems and information to assure that their product safety and performance needs are met. JLA assists companies with analysis and certification to carry their products from shore to shore, or private consultation in highly technical areas to assist them in meeting the unique challenges of the food industry. JLA has long-term expertise in peanuts and treenuts. Their services include aflatoxin management and testing, quality measurements such as oil chemistry, total fat, moisture, protein, as well as flavor and grade. They also offer services on advanced chemistry and microbiology tests of finished products.

View the JLA, USA presentation.

View the 2017 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album.