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Examining the unique role of the US peanut ‘Society’

The five-part series is called 'The Society of Peanut' and will appear in Southeast Farm Press over the next few months.

A society is an organization formed for a specific purpose, activity or cause. Did you know the American peanut has a society all its own?

The American Peanut Research and Education Society, more commonly referred to by its enunciated acronym APRES, will celebrate its 50th annual meeting in July of this year. APRES has evolved over the years to include the primary people dedicated to peanut research and educational development, representing the diverse and complex interests of the peanut industry.

We at Southeast Farm Press felt this a good opportunity to introduce to you, or remind you of, this society’s history, unique position in the U.S. peanut industry, its contributions to the agricultural landscape, and its role in the future.

The five-part series is called The Society of Peanut and will appear in print issues of Southeast Farm Press over the next few months. Each installment will be published here at the Southeast Farm Press website, too, soon after appearing in print. The final installment will appear in the Farm Press Peanut Efficiency Award print issue published right before the Southern Peanut Growers Conference this year in San Destin, Fla., July 19-22.

The series is sponsored by AMVAC and its family of products for peanut growers including Thimet insecticide and Equus fungicide.

APRES’ stated goal is a hefty one. It in part aims “to provide consumers with wholesome peanuts and peanut products at reasonable prices. To achieve this goal, a comprehensive and effective research and educational program designed to improve the inherent qualities of peanuts is essential. Research emphasis must include the continual development of improved varieties, production, harvesting, curing, storing and processing methodology which promotes peanut quality.”

In 1957, the Peanut Improvement Working Group, a small group, formed because of the need to create a national peanut research organization. According to the 1969 Journal of American Peanut Research and Education Association Volume 1 No. 1, “In July 1968, as a result of a lot of hard work and planning on the part of the members of the Peanut Improvement Working Group, it was decided that the complete interest of the industry, research workers, educators, and related agencies could be best served by the formation of the organization now known as the American Peanut Research and Education Association, Inc.”

The APRES 50th annual meeting will take place July 10-12 in Williamsburg, VA. It’s first meeting took place in Atlanta, Ga., July 13-15 in 1969

“Today, APRES provides a forum for information exchange, education, planning and implementation of studies that address unanswered research questions, and responds to issues related to peanut,” said Dr. Pete Dotray, the current president of APRES and professor and Extension weed specialist with Texas A&M.

In short, APRES is the gravitational point for some of the best peanut-oriented minds in the country who work and exchange information to solve problems for the industry on regional and national levels.

APRES is comprised of several different focus areas including agronomy and production technology, biotechnology, breeding, economics, engineering, genetics, harvesting, food science, nematology, plant pathology, processing and utilization, shelling, storage and handling, and weed science.

The society has more than 550 individual, sustaining, organization, student, and library members, Dotray said. And those members come from USDA, land-grant and non-land grant universities, and all aspects of the peanut industry including production, shelling, marketing, storage, and manufactured products, Dotray said. 

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