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APRES: 'Scans Horizon' for peanut solutionsAPRES: 'Scans Horizon' for peanut solutions

Whether it's economics, science, or trade economic barriers, the American Peanut Research and Education Society wants to look forward, including with its new partnership with the American Peanut Council.

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Bob Kemerait, University of Georgia Extension plant pathologist and newly installed president of the American Peanut Research and Education Society (APRES), says looking for ways to solve problems and to take advantage of opportunities is his goal during his year-long term.

Kemerait said the theme for the APRES annual conference, held July 11-13 in Savannah, Ga., was “Scanning the Horizon. That means looking to the future, seeing what we have in our ranks to deal with challenges. Whether it's economics, whether it's science, whatever challenges we face in terms of climate change, economic barriers to trade, pest management, and developing new varieties, we want to look forward.

“As I move forward in my leadership role, I want us to look forward and see what we can do to address these issues, identify potential problems, identify opportunities, identify what may be missing that we as an organization can help deliver solutions.”

New era

Kemerait said this conference marks a new era for APRES as they begin a collaboration with the American Peanut Council.

“I think this has been a critically important meeting. I've worried about things going well. So many said, ‘it'll go okay,’ but I don't want it to go okay; I want it to be outstanding. I want it to be what everything else is compared to. I wanted  this to be the meeting remembered as the year the American Peanut Council and APRES came together and moved forward.”

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He said he did not want this meeting to be remembered as the one where past administrators were absent. “I wanted this conference to be remembered as the meeting where we moved forward in this new partnership.

“I think we've done that. I think we've shown very positive things. I think the collaboration between APRES and APC will continue to bring fruitful cooperation. That’s my hope.”

APC Collaboration

He says the collaboration strengthens the organization. “The American Peanut Council brings a lot to the table. First, and the most practical advantage, is that they will help us facilitate the day-to-day operations of the organization. They will help us with the nuts and bolts of the organization and take care of the things that have to be done.

“APC also brings an awareness and an understanding of trade and marketing. At the very basic level, they perform day-to-day operations and prepare for national meetings and the day-to-day chores that we have to do, things like putting out journals. They will maintain and manage that.

“But the American Peanut Council is much more than that. They have other collaborations, outreach with associations with international trade. So all of that goes hand-in-hand. The science and the trade and the marketing of peanuts all come together.”

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Kemerait said the 2023 conference marks the second largest attendance in the Society’s history, only behind another conference also held in Savannah.

“I believe we had about 289 registrants,” he said. “We had another 125 or so family members who came along with him. So, we're approaching 400. It's not quite there, but we're approaching it.”

Kemerait and other APRES members emphasize that the family atmosphere and the camaraderie of members make the annual conference special.

He also considers graduate student participation in research presentations and poster competitions an integral part of the annual conference.

About the Author(s)

Ron Smith

Editor, Farm Progress

Ron Smith has spent more than 30 years covering Sunbelt agriculture. Ron began his career in agricultural journalism as an Experiment Station and Extension editor at Clemson University, where he earned a Masters Degree in English in 1975. He served as associate editor for Southeast Farm Press from 1978 through 1989. In 1990, Smith helped launch Southern Turf Management Magazine and served as editor. He also helped launch two other regional Turf and Landscape publications and launched and edited Florida Grove and Vegetable Management for the Farm Press Group. Within two years of launch, the turf magazines were well-respected, award-winning publications. Ron has received numerous awards for writing and photography in both agriculture and landscape journalism. He is past president of The Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association and was chosen as the first media representative to the University of Georgia College of Agriculture Advisory Board. He was named Communicator of the Year for the Metropolitan Atlanta Agricultural Communicators Association. Smith also worked in public relations, specializing in media relations for agricultural companies. Ron lives with his wife Pat in Denton, Texas. They have two grown children, Stacey and Nick, and two grandsons, Aaron and Hunter.

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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