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Measuring a successful, efficient peanut farm

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As the peanut industry has advanced in efficiency of production, the Farm Press peanut award program also advanced.

The Farm Press Peanut Efficiency Award program has evolved over time to reflect the changes in the peanut industry. In 2000, the first class of winners was chosen in what then was the Peanut Profitability Award, where nominees were evaluated based on net return per acre of producing peanut.

As the peanut industry has advanced in efficiency of production, the Farm Press program also advanced. We're celebrating our 22nd consecutive class. We'll honor them and last year's winners later this month at the Southern Peanut Growers Conference.

While profitability remains one of the key components in the program, we changed the evaluation metrics to include sustainability and efficiency measures, such as land use efficiency, water use efficiency, rotation sequencing, conservation tillage, fertility, pesticide usage efficiency, and others.

These changes to the award nomination form were eye opening, demonstrating how efficient U.S. peanut producers are and how they manage complex farming operations. By following the recommended university, USDA and extension guidelines, these efficiency measures show continuing, cutting-edge improvement over time.

It does take time for busy farmers to complete the application form for the PEA program, but by doing so these top farmers are willing to share information that benefits the entire peanut industry, but each individual's information is kept confidential.

The PEA nomination form is a free, user-friendly tool to measure the sustainable efficiency of any peanut operation, the whole operation. You can download the form at southeastfarmpress.com or email me at [email protected], or Brad Haire at [email protected]. We're happy to share it with you. You don't need to feel obligated to submit the form for the award, but we'd be glad to have you as we look forward to our 23rd PEA class.

One of this year’s winner made an interesting comment: “I’ve never studied my budget information in the spring, but it is very revealing to look at these numbers just prior to or while planting a crop. It gives me a different perspective.”

Marshal Lamb is the research leader for the USDA National Peanut Lab in Dawson, Ga., and the primary advisor for the Farm Press Peanut Efficiency Award program.

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