Research efforts to improve varieties and production efficiency are key goals for the National Peanut Board, says NPB Chairman and Alabama peanut farmer George Jeffcoat.
Jeffcoat said 20 percent of peanut farmers’ checkoff dollars go back to participating states for production research. “It’s always been our long-range plan to use research dollars to increase growers’ profits,” he said at the recent Southern Peanut Growers Conference in Panama City Beach, Fla.
Those funds are particularly important now, he added, since university research funds have been cut significantly in recent years. “We hope these (NPB) funds will fill the gap,” he said.
Jeffcoat said variety development is one of the most critical research efforts. “Improved varieties would be my first priority for research. We want varieties that work better for us.”
Promotion is another important aspect of NPB efforts and Jeffcoat said a new advertising campaign capitalizes on consumers’ focus on health issues. “They are interested in such issues as nutrition and anti-oxidants. Peanuts are a good source of protein at a reasonable price. That’s why peanut sales are up.”
He said NPB also partners with other groups, such as pear and apple associations, to provide information about nutritious, economical foods.
“We also work with food editors to get articles about peanuts in national magazines. And we work with a lot of chefs. If we can get them to use peanuts in their dishes we increase sales.”