"If it weren't for peanuts, I probably would not be farming," says Van Hensarling, Richton, Miss. "Peanuts are about the only crop that makes money."
Hensarling has grown peanuts for 23 years on his south Mississippi farm. He farmed with his dad while still in high school, using his dad's equipment but making his own crops. He farmed leased land on his own after high school and bought his first farm in 1981, raising soybeans and wheat.
"I enjoy growing peanuts," Hensarling says. "I started during the quota system. I transitioned from soybeans and wheat to 100% cotton in 1995 and 1996. I added peanuts in 1997. I had to gear up for peanuts. Fortunately, I had an understanding banker."
He farms with his wife, Anita, and sons, Jerid, 40, and Brad, 37.