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Grower Summit held with Texas Peanut Producers Board

Production practices important to food consumers. What seems normal to rural folks can be unsettling to urban residents. 69 percent of consumers think it’s important to understand how their food is produced.

Delegates of the 11-member National Peanut Board (NPB) and representatives of the Texas Peanut Producers Board (TPPB) met for a Grower Summit in San Antonio during NPB’s quarterly Board meeting April 9-10.

The Grower Summit continues the National Peanut Board’s practice of visiting a peanut-producing state once a year during a regularly scheduled board meeting. The purpose is to promote open dialogue about the challenges and opportunities peanut farmers face and to help foster dialogue between growers. A year ago, the Board met with the Alabama Peanut Producers Association in Clear Point, Ala.

“These meetings are extremely instructive and helpful for board members,” said Vic Jordan, chairman of the National Peanut Board and a peanut farmer from Rayville, La. “Many of the issues confronting peanut farmers in Texas are very different from those in other parts of the country, but we share many of the same challenges. We really appreciate the opportunity to get the perspective of these Texas peanut farmers.”

After the meeting, both boards toured Wilmeth Farms near Dilley, Texas. Texas Peanut Producers Board member Grayson Wilmeth grows peanuts and other row crops.

“One of our goals as a board is to make ourselves as transparent as possible to all of America’s peanut farmers,” said Laura Robbins, National Peanut Board’s New Mexico delegate and chairman of the grower and industry communications committee. “By meeting with different state grower groups, it demonstrates that we want to work collaboratively with and value the input of all growers to advance the cause of America’s peanut farmers.”

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 “One of the most interesting discussions centered on genomics research,” said Larry Womack, chairman of the Texas Peanut Producers Board. “Every growing region focuses on research specific to their region, but the genomics project is one area of research that will benefit us all.”

“Texas is a large geographical area and we have farmers growing different types in different areas of our state. Some grow Virginias and runners just like farmers in the Southeast or in the Virginia-Carolinas, while others grow Spanish and Valencias. It was helpful to talk about similarities and differences in disease control with growers from other regions.

 "Texas is unique in that it is still a prominent part of the peanut industry, yet it grows the crop under rather different circumstances than farmers in the Southeast where the majority of the U.S. production is," Womack said. "Having a summit like this allows us to not only visit with delegates not as familiar with our state's production and issues, but also show them directly what peanut farming looks like in Texas."

National Peanut Board also invited Anne-Marie DeLorenzo with M&M Mars, Inc. to discuss market trends from a manufacturer’s point of view. At the conclusion of the meeting, members of both boards toured the Culinary Institute of America in San Antonio to gain a better understanding of how peanuts affect the food industry.



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