Almost 100 farmers and Agribusiness leaders recently met at the Columbia County Peanut Twilight Tour hosted at I.C. Terry Farms. Tyron Spearman, Executive Director of the Peanut Buying Points Association was on-hand to talk about this peanut crop, and those peanuts already in storage. He told guests that there are several “piles of peanuts” that we must systematically deal with to keep the market moving. Here is a summary of the “piles:”
- 2014 Loan Peanuts – 150,000 tons that must be redeemed or forfeited by the end of October.
- 2014 Loan Peanuts – 6,600 tons already forfeited that the government must offer for sale.
- 2014-15 Carry forward – 932,000 tons
- 2015 Peanut Crop – 3,100,000 tons predicted harvest (total demand – 2,800,000 tons).
- 2015-16 Domestic Food Use – 1,550,000 tons. Peanut butter (+8%), peanut snacks (+1%), peanut candy (-5.6%), in-shells (-7.2%).
- 690,000 tons crushed for oil, or seed, residual.
- 2015-16 Exports – 570,000 tons (+11.3%). Raw shelled (+19%), in-shell (+19%), peanut butter (-1.9%).
Spearman said he was optimistic about the expansion in markets. “We all need to buy an extra jar of peanut butter, eat another candy bar. Extra production will cause lower prices for a while, but that means more new peanut products on the shelves. Let’s grow this peanut market.”
Guests in attendance were appreciative of the enthusiasm and noted that “more is always more.” They indicated a large supply of good quality peanuts will in-fact lead to more demand for our products. However, some were a bit apprehensive about reliance on the Chinese market to export a high percentage of this crop. Reported instability in the Chinese economy, and a current overreliance on China for cotton sales concerned many farmers and businessmen. Area farmers are also concerned about market prices below their economic break-even as a result of national overproduction.