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Ben Cowin is 2022 Peanut Efficiency Winner for upper SoutheastBen Cowin is 2022 Peanut Efficiency Winner for upper Southeast

Ben Cowin has consistently been a member of the 5,000-pound club, achieving average yields of more than 5,000 pounds per acre.

John Hart

July 1, 2022

10 Slides

Ben Sheppard Cowin of Williamston, N.C., the 2022 Farm Press Peanut Efficiency Award winner for the Upper Southeast,  is  a champion peanut farmer in every sense of the word.

Cowin farms with his younger brother Clayton Cowin in Martin County on land that has been tended by a member of the Cowin family for six generations. Ben began farming with his father, the late Ben Simon Cowin, in 1981. Clayton came on board four years after Ben in 1985, when his dad suffered a second heart attack and retired from the farm.

The Cowin brothers farm 1,250 acres of cotton, corn, soybeans and peanuts. Most of the land is devoted to cotton and peanutsBen considers himself a peanut farmer first and foremost. They grow seed peanuts for Severn Peanut Company.

To realize that Cowin is a champion peanut farmer, you need only to pop into his farm office at his home on Cowin Road, in Bear Grass, which is near Williamston. Lining the walls of the office are trophies recognizing Cowin as the top peanut yield winner in Martin County. He has been the top yielding farmer in the county for 24 years straight, winning the county trophy every year since 1997. In 2004, he was the top statewide yield winner in North Carolina. He has consistently been a member of the 5,000-pound club, achieving average yields of more than 5,000 pounds per acre.

In 2021, Cowin achieved an impressive yield of 6,083 pounds per acre. He planted the high-oleic Virginia-type varieties Bailey II and Sullivan for seed peanuts. He planted 224 acres of Bailey II and 20 acres of Sullivan.

“I’m not a person to cut corners much. I’m not going to cut corners and wonder if it’s going to be right or not. I do all I can, and when I go to bed at night, I try to sleep well. I don’t want to cut corners on a crop because you never know when the weather is going to change,” he explained.

“We’ve been blessed. The Lord has looked out for us. I love what I do. To be good at it, you’ve got to love it.”

About the Author(s)

John Hart

Associate Editor, Southeast Farm Press

John Hart is associate editor of Southeast Farm Press, responsible for coverage in the Carolinas and Virginia. He is based in Raleigh, N.C.

Prior to joining Southeast Farm Press, John was director of news services for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C. He also has experience as an energy journalist. For nine years, John was the owner, editor and publisher of The Rice World, a monthly publication serving the U.S. rice industry.  John also worked in public relations for the USA Rice Council in Houston, Texas and the Cotton Board in Memphis, Tenn. He also has experience as a farm and general assignments reporter for the Monroe, La. News-Star.

John is a native of Lake Charles, La. and is a  graduate of the LSU School of Journalism in Baton Rouge.  At LSU, he served on the staff of The Daily Reveille.

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