At the quarterly meeting of National Peanut Board held in Atlanta in early February, the board unanimously approved production research projects submitted by the state peanut producer organizations and the Universityof Arkansas.Funding production research to make America’s peanut farmers more competitive is a core part of the board’s mission.
Representatives from state grower organizations made presentations to the board and all 49 projects were approved. The majority of projects investigate the challenges of disease control, pest management and drought tolerance, although other projects include proposals addressing a broad range of relevant concerns to the grower. The board’s total allocation for fiscal year 2013 production research funding exceeds $1.5 million.
“The board recognizes the potential of production research, not only for farmers but for all segments of the peanut industry,” said Vic Jordan, NPB chairman and at-large delegate. “Our research efforts are important to growers now and in the future. All these projects help make our crop more sustainable and efficient by reducing the cost of production and/or increasing yields.”
In addition, Howard Valentine, executive director of The Peanut Foundation, presented updates about genomics research and the progress made toward mapping the peanut genome. At its quarterly meeting last August, the board allocated $400,000 toward the Peanut Genome Initiative, an industry-wide effort in conjunction with The Peanut Foundation. This allocation is in addition to the production research NPB funds through state peanut producer organizations and research institutions. In total, the board intends to contribute $2 million to the Peanut Genome Initiative over a five-year period.
“Helping the industry produce better peanut varieties ultimately helps the producer reduce input costs and reduce our environmental footprint,” said Michael Davis, research committee chair and Florida delegate.
To date, National Peanut Board has funded more than $18 million in production research through state and industry organizations.