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Four peanut producers receive the Peanut Efficiency Award. Families, faith, county agents and crop consultants were credited for their success.

Shelley E. Huguley, Editor

July 23, 2022

6 Min Read
2022 Peanut Efficiency Award Winners: from left, Farm Press Senior Content Editor Brad Haire; Southwest, Karl Stutzman, Weatherford, Okla.; Lower Southeast, Wayne Hobbs, Irwin County, Ga.; Upper Southeast Ben Cowin, Williamston, N.C.; and Marshall Lamb, peanut research leader, USDA National Peanut Research Laboratory. Not pictured is Delta winner Mitchell Rogers, Covington County, Miss. Shelley E. Huguley

Four peanut producers were honored today at the annual Farm Press Peanut Efficiency Awards Breakfast in Panama City Beach, Fla. Producers were praised and recognized for efficiently growing high-yielding peanuts.

The 2022 honorees are as follows:

While each of the recipients were noted for their various farming practices, two other elements took center stage.   

"There's three things that come to mind when we talk about our winners," Delta Farm Press Editor Brent Murphree told the crowd. "That's the dedication to their family, commitment to their farm, and their devotion to their faith."

Marshall Lamb, peanut research leader, USDA National Peanut Research Laboratory, addressed the crowd sharing that in his 23 years of calculating the nominations, this year's class was the closest.

"This was by far the closest contest that we have ever been associated with. I would look at the nomination information, and then send it to my technician and she'd send it back to me. And we spent hours trying to get down to an actual winner because it was such a close contest.

"That's a testament to our winners, but also to where we're at in production and production efficiency in the United States."

See PEA awards video, 2022 Peanut Efficiency Awards highlight high yields, effective inputs

PEA winners are determined on a yield basis and order per unit of yield such as pesticides and nutrients. "These are all related to farm management and timely application, but they're also tied directly to sustainability," Lamb said. "We also look at economic efficiency measures, which bring into play effective cost management marketing, which is always important and sometimes more difficult in peanuts with the absence of commodity markets."

The breakfast, sponsored by the National Peanut Board (NPB), is held in conjunction with the Southern Peanut Growers Conference. NPB President Les Crall gave opening remarks. "The National Peanut Board has allotted more than $37.9 million towards state and industry production," he said. "We recently returned from APRES (American Peanut Research and Education Society) in Dallas, where we got research news that thanks to the industry's genetic research, we've developed genetic markers. We now have a peanut that is resistant to leaf spot and that certainly could lead to greater efficiencies on the farm."

swfp-shelley-huguley-karl-les-pea-22.jpgSouthwest PEA winner Karl Stutzman with fellow Oklahoman Les Crall, National Peanut Board president and chairman of the Oklahoma Peanut Commission.

Each PEA recipient was introduced by their regional Farm Press editor and given the opportunity to comment.

The Upper Southeast award was presented by Southeast Farm Press Associate Editor John Hart. He said Ben Cowin is definitely not a one-hit wonder when it comes to peanut farming. "He has consistently been a champion peanut farmer for many years."


Upper Southeast PEA winner: From left, John Hart, Farm Press, Tracey and Ben Cowin, and their crop consultant Wayne Nixon and his wife Wendi.

Hart noted his 20-year run as the top peanut yielder in Martin County, and state recognition in 2004. "It's quite impressive," Hart said.

"It's a great honor to be here," Cowin told the crowd. "I've been reading about this award in the Southeast Farm Press and I'd say 'That's a blessing to be there and accept that award.' I thank the Lord I'm here now."

He also recognized his crop consultant, who was in the attendance.  "I appreciate Mr. Wayne Nixon for nominating me. He's a peanut encyclopedia and I appreciate his help. Thanks to Mr. Marshall for looking over my application and saying I did alright."

Haire introduced the Lower Southeast winner, Wayne Hobbs. "T.M. Hobbs was Wayne’s and Greg’s father and family farming patriarch. Mr. T.M. was well-known for climbing the peaks of peanut production and reaching levels that would impress us today.

"Mr. Wayne continues that family tradition in Irwin County with new tools of technology and the recommended methods to produce results today that still amaze."

Wayne first thanked Farm Press and then his county agent Phillip Edwards. "He helps us a whole lot. I give him a lot of credit for everything we do."




Lower Southeast winner: fromleft, Farm Press Senior Content Editor Brad Haire; Wayne Hobb's daughter Amanda and her son Parker; Wayne Hobbs; and daughters Michelle Stone and Beverly Hall.

Wayne, in an emotional tribute, thanked his children, most of whom were in the crowd. "In 2019, I lost my wife. She was a big part of the farming operation," he said as he looked at his kids and grandson. "I give them a lot of credit. Most of all, I thank the good Lord."

For the Delta states, honoree Mitchell Rogers wasn't in attendance. "Unfortunately, 85-year-old Mitchell is not able to be with us this morning because he is unable to travel for health reasons. But he is so excited for this award," Murphree said.

Murphree noted how dearly loved Rogers is by his peers. "Mitchell's commitment to his community shows in the way people interact with him. He's always lending a helping hand, especially to young farmers," Murphree said. "He's so grateful about this award and I'm heading down tomorrow to give it to him. But again, it's his devotion to his family, his faith and his farm that really stand out."

dfp-brent-murphree-mitchell-rogers.jpgDelta Peanut Efficiency Award winner Mitchell Rogers with his wife Ann. Delta Farm Press Editor Brent Murphree personally delivered their plaque to their home today. (Photo by Brent Murphree)

The final presentation was made by Southwest Farm Press Editor Shelley Huguley, introducing Karl Stutzman. Huguley discussed Karl's and his wife Brenda's rich farming heritage in Weatherford, Okla., as well as changes Stutzman is making to more efficiently grow peanuts, including reduced tillage and cover crops. 


Southwest winner: Stutzman family, from left, daughter Kayla, wife Brenda, Karl and daughter Erika, and Southwest Farm Press Editor Shelley Huguley.

She primarily shared about his love of family, his special relationship with his father Bob and his devotion to God.

"It's real honor and privilege to be here," Stutzman said. "There's few of us peanut growers in Oklahoma. We're few but there's a lot of good people, so it's just a real privilege to represent Oklahoma.

"Probably the most important thing I do after I plant, I dedicate that crop to the Lord, and I ask him to give me the opportunity to testify about his faithfulness. So, I stand here today to testify that God provides and God is faithful."

Haire concluded the breakfast thanking award sponsors and the peanut industry for all that they do.

About the Author(s)

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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