JEKYLL ISLAND – The University of Georgia Peanut Team honored Georgia’s top peanut producers this weekend at the annual Georgia Peanut Achievement Club.
Fifteen farmers/farms were recognized Saturday, Aug. 10, at the meeting held annually to salute Georgia’s highest-yielding peanut growers. The UGA Peanut Team also held an open forum session with peanut producers and industry leaders.
“We’ve climbed in yields in these categories with the growers that we have. I mean they’ve continued to stay well above 6,000-pound averages across the board,” said Scott Monfort, UGA cooperative extension peanut agronomist. “This is taking into consideration their entire farm, whether it’s dryland or irrigated. Their entire farm is counted. It’s just phenomenal.”
Georgia is the No. 1 producer of peanuts in the United States. Georgia farmers provide more than 45 percent of the country’s peanut crop every year.
Growers, such as Glen Heard, appreciated the recognition of farmers’ hard work.
“It’s one of the best honors any peanut farmer can get. I hadn’t been here in a while and I’ve been wanting to get back,” said Heard, a peanut producer with 4,209 acres in Baker, Decatur, Miller and Seminole counties. “I’m very proud of it.”
Worth County producer Ken Hall was recognized for the eighth time in the past 10 years.
“I feel honored to be able to be part of this group. I can remember one year we missed it by one pound,” said Hall, who grows peanuts on 1,023 acres. “As I’ve told some of the guys on the (UGA) Peanut Team, I think it’s a great thing, whether I’m able to attend or not. I think it’s a great thing to reward the top growers in the state.”
The achievements in 2018 are even more impressive considering the challenges producers encountered with Mother Nature. Consistent rainfall in May 2018 delayed planting for many growers until June. Then Hurricane Michael hit southwest Georgia on Oct. 10, a time when growers were harvesting their peanut and cotton crops.
“Last year was difficult with Michael. It hurt a lot of people. Peanuts did fare a lot better (than some other crops). This is one bright spot that we have,” Monfort said. “These growers did very well on their peanuts, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t have tough times. Their cotton suffered significantly, but I’m glad we were able to come here and at least celebrate the things that did go right.”
The 2018 Georgia Peanut Achievement Club winners are:
100-299 acres: Larry Ray Walker; Ben Hill County: 124 acres; 6,536 pounds/acre.
300-699 acres: Chase Farms, Inc.; Macon County; 439 acres; 7,191 pounds/acre.
700-plus acres: 4 Miller Farms; Seminole County; 930 acres; 7,052 pounds/acre.
100-299 acres: HillSide Farms/Mike Newberry; Early County; 234 acres; 6,514 pounds/acre.
700-plus acres: Bob Mclendon; Calhoun County; 1,298 acres; 5,975 pounds/acre.
100-299 acres: Matt Bryan/Faith Farms; Baker County; 217 acres; 6,455 pounds/acre.
300-699 acres: Jeff Williams; Miller County; 558 acres; 5,827 pounds/acre.
700-plus acres: Heard Family Farms (Glen Heard); Decatur County; 4,209 acres; 5,803 pounds/acre.
100-299 acres: Michael and Gregg Bennett; Pulaski County; 134 acres; 5,675 pounds/acre.
100-299 acres: Steve Newberry; Jefferson County; 187 acres; 5,620 pounds/acre.
300-699 acres: C&S Farms, Scott Moore; Dooly County; 346 acres; 6,865 pounds/acre.
700-plus acres: Ken Hall Farms; Worth County; 1,023 acres; 5,424 pounds/acre.
100-299 acres: Bucky Tyler; Irwin County; 162 acres; 5,976 pounds/acre.
300-699 acres: Robert Davison; Brooks County; 371 acres; 6,044 pounds/acre.
700-plus acres: Nellwood Farms (Hal Cromley); Bulloch County; 1,109 acres; 4,992 pounds/acre.
For more information about peanut production in Georgia, see peanuts.caes.uga.edu.
Clint Thompson is the public relations coordinator with University of Georgia, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Office of Communication and Creative Services, Tifton.