Broad range of peanut industry and community involvement marks 2018 appointees
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recently appointed five members and six alternates to serve on the National Peanut Board. The appointees will serve three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2018, and ending Dec. 31, 2020. One appointee, the Texas alternate, will serve the remaining one-year portion of a vacancy. The members and alternates will be sworn in by USDA at the quarterly National Peanut Board meeting Feb. 6-7, 2018.
For Alabama, Tom Corcoran of Eufaula is the newly-appointed Board member.
Corcoran previously served as the alternate board member for Alabama for six years. Corcoran owns and operates Liikatchka Plantation in partnership with his wife Denise, brother Walt Corcoran, sister-in-law Kim Corcoran and nephew Liston Clark. He has owned and operated the farm since 1983. They produce runner peanuts in addition to cotton, soybeans, corn and wheat. They also have a cow/calf operation.
Outside of his farm, Corcoran is a member of several professional and agricultural organizations including the Alabama Farmers Federation and Barbour County Cattlemen. He was also 2011 President of the S.A.F.E. Board Calves sale. Corcoran is also an active member of the First Baptist Church in Eufaula. Corcoran and Denise have two sons, Joseph and Liston. In his free time, Corcoran enjoys Arkansas duck hunting, deer hunting and fishing.
Corcoran said, “I’m particularly interested in helping with the peanut allergy work the National Peanut Board is doing.”
Thomas Adams of Newville is the newly-appointed alternate from Alabama.
Adams owns Adams Farms and grows runner peanuts and cotton and raises cattle and poultry. He’s a third-generation farmer and has been farming for 22 years.
Adams is a longtime member of the Alabama Farmers Federation and serves on the Henry County Farmer Federation board of directors and Southern Peanut Growers board. He has also been the director of the Alabama Peanut Producers Board for three years. Adams is a member of First Baptist Church in Headland, Ala. He and his wife Farrah have two children: daughter Elizabeth, 21, and son Emery, 16. In his free time, Adams enjoys going to the beach and deep-sea fishing.
“No farmer wants anyone to get sick from the food that we grow, so I’m proud to know that peanut farmers’ money has been well spent through the National Peanut Board to help eliminate peanut allergies,” said Adams.
For Florida, William Carte of Live Oak is the newly-appointed Board member.
Carte was Florida’s alternate for two years. For 20 years he has owned and operated Stonewell Farm, the same farm he grew up on. Today he grows peanuts and has a cattle operation.
His background includes two years at North Florida Junior College and completion of leadership programs with Florida Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Group, University of Florida Natural Resources Leadership Institution and the Syngenta Peanut Leadership Academy. He is a member of Suwannee FFA Alumni, Suwanee County Schools FFA Advisory Committee, board member of Suwannee County Youth Livestock Show and Sale, Florida Farm Bureau, Suwanee County Peanut and Cotton Advisory Committee and Florida Department of Agriculture Peanut Advisory Committee.
Carte and his wife Sarah have two daughters, Maddie and Lindsleigh. In his spare time, he camps with his family and enjoys backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, which is an interest he has had for 42 years.
“I look forward to serving on behalf of Florida peanut farmers and representing them,” said Carte. “I’m excited about participating in activities of the board and being able to report back on those events to our state’s growers.”
Jeremy Rolling of Westville is the newly-appointed alternate from Florida.
Rolling is a third-generation farmer and, along with his wife Teresa, owns and operates Rolling Farms. They grow peanuts, soybeans, corn, seed oats and watermelon and operate a roadside produce stand.
He is a graduate of Crestview High School and holds an associate degree of applied sciences from Okaloosa-Walton Community College. He is president of the Holmes County Farm Bureau, a member of the Florida Peanut Producers Association and a member of the Florida Farm Bureau Peanut-Cotton Advisory Committee.
He is a past recipient of the Holmes County Farm Family of the Year and the Holmes County Conservation Farmer of the Year awards. Since 2008 he has been a member of the West Geneva Co-Op and the Harford Farmers Co-Op.
“It is an honor to be chosen to serve on the National Peanut Board,” said Rolling. “I’ve been active at the state level and I hope to learn more about other operations throughout the country and help advance the peanut industry.”
For Mississippi, Joe Morgan of Hattiesburg is the reappointed Board member.
Morgan operates M&M Farms and has farmed more than 50 years. He has grown peanuts for more than 25 years, and also grows corn and cotton. “I’m a peanut farmer first and foremost and our entire operation revolves around peanuts,” said Morgan.
Morgan and his wife Patricia have been married more than 50 years and they have two children, Joe Jr. and Tommy Jean (Daugherty); four grandchildren, Madelyn, Dylan, Monica and Colton; and two great grandchildren, Ainsley and Jacob.
Morgan graduated from Runnelstown High School and studied mechanical engineering at Jones County Junior College before pursuing his career in farming. He completed National Corn Growers Association and CIBA-Geigy Leadership Development Program and is current president of the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association; member of First South Farm Credit board of directors; member of Forrest County FSA committee; and member and former director-officer of Forrest County Farm Bureau. He is a former Forrest County NRCS Commissioner, FSA committee chairman and co-op board of directors member.
He is also a member of Pineview Baptist Church. In his downtime, Morgan hunts quail and spends time with his grandchildren and great grandchildren. “The allergy work that the Board has done has been critical. When we hear of a school potentially banning peanuts, NPB is right on it to correct misconceptions.”
Lonnie Fortner of Port Gibson is the reappointed alternate from Mississippi.
Fortner has been a farmer for 21 years and is the managing partner for Bayou Pierre Farms where he grows peanuts, cotton, soybeans and corn. Fortner is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and a 2012 graduate of the Syngenta Peanut Leadership Program.
For more than a decade he has been a member of several industry organizations including the Mississippi Peanut Promotion Board, Mississippi Peanut Growers Association Board as vice president, Claiborne County Farm Bureau Board as vice president, and the Farmers Co-Op Board. His volunteer role with the Mississippi Farm Bureau has been extensive and includes serving as past chairman of the Bureau’s peanut advisory board, and as member of the crop insurance, transportation, and farm families campaign committees.
Fortner and his wife Karen have two children; Beth, 18, and Lee, 17. When he is not involved with the farm, Fortner enjoys traveling with his family and hunting.
“I am looking forward to serving on the National Peanut Board for a second term,” said Fortner. “I’m honored to be able to represent Mississippi’s peanut producers on a national level and to help make a difference through research development.”
For North Carolina, Dan Ward of Clarkton is reappointed Board member.
In Ward’s first term as board member, he served on the executive committee as secretary in 2016, then as treasurer the following year. With his reappointment for a second term, Ward is now vice chairman of the Board. Ward previously served two terms as the North Carolina alternate.
Ward grows Virginia-type peanuts along with corn and soybeans. His wife Julie and parents Wilbur and Joyce are integral to the farming operation. A graduate of North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science in agricultural engineering, Ward is past chairman of The Peanut Foundation, and was an industry representative on the recently completed Peanut Genome Initiative. He is a member of the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission and serves on the Bladen County Planning Board. He is a member of the sustainability committee and export committee with the American Peanut Council.
Previously, Ward served as past president of the North Carolina Peanut Growers Association and was on the American Farm Bureau’s Peanut Advisory Committee. Ward also serves on the Ag Foundation at North Carolina State University, and the agriculture advisory committee for U.S. Congressmen for North Carolina’s 7th congressional district, David Rouzer. Ward is an elder at Clarkton Presbyterian Church and is involved with the Sunday school program.
Ward and Julie have two daughters, Emily and Abby. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time at the beach. Ward said, “I am proud to serve another term on the National Peanut Board, and I look forward to advising the Board on research projects and promotions activities to help improve peanut growers’ bottom line.”
Raymond Garner, Jr. of Roanoke Rapids is the reappointed alternate from North Carolina.
Garner is a fifth-generation farmer in Halifax County and has been farming since 1992. As owner and operator of Garner Family Farms, he grows peanuts, cotton, soybeans and wheat. Garner graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science in agronomy. Before he became a farmer, he worked with NC Cooperative Extension Service as agriculture agent.
Garner is the current president of the Halifax County Farm Bureau and serves on NC Peanut Growers Association board of directors. He is a partner in Roanoke Cotton Company, LLC, in Weldon. He serves in a variety of roles at Smith United Methodist Church and serves on the board of trustees at Halifax Academy. Garner and his wife Janice have two children; Elizabeth and Ray III. In their spare time, Ray and Janice enjoy NC State University football games and attending their children’s sports and extracurricular activities.
“I have enjoyed serving on the National Peanut Board and seeing the positive impact NPB-sponsored research and promotion have had on the industry. Peanut consumption is increasing, concerns about peanut allergies are being addressed and production research has improved profitability. It’s a great time to be a peanut farmer.”
Paul Rogers III of Wakefield is the newly-appointed Virginia Board member.
For the past six years, Rogers has served as alternate from Virginia. In partnership with his father, also named Paul, Rogers is a producer of cotton, peanuts, corn, soybeans, wheat and timber. Rogers graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering technology and has been farming since graduating in 1997.
Rogers serves as director of several agricultural organizations including the Virginia Crop Improvement Association, Virginia Cotton Growers Association, Virginia Farm Bureau Cotton Advisory Board, Virginia Cotton Board, Surry County Farm Bureau and as a current delegate for the National Cotton Council Producers.
Rogers is a two-time past-president of the Wakefield Ruritan Club and is on the board of directors of the Wakefield Sportsman Club. He has been involved in coaching for over a decade, serving as coach of JV basketball and baseball teams. Rogers and his wife, Dawn, have three children; Lauren, Jake and Cade. Outside of farming, Rogers enjoys hunting and coaching baseball.
“As a National Peanut Board member, I look forward to sharing ideas and practices with people about an industry that my family has prospered from…peanuts,” said Rogers. “It lets me give back to the agricultural industry and help fellow producers in this time of changing technology. Sharing the same beliefs and goals with a group of like-minded people at the National Peanut Board is very rewarding to me.”
Westly Drake of Newsoms is the newly-appointed alternate from Virginia.
Drake is the crop production manager of Sandy Ridge Farms, which is owned and operated by his father, Michael and mother, Rebecca. The three family members run the 1,200-acre farm on which they grow and raise a mix of peanuts, cotton, corn, soybeans wheat and cattle.
Drake began farming for his family in 2011 after graduating with degrees in field crops technology, agribusiness management, and general agriculture from North Carolina State University Agricultural Institute. Drake is a member of the board of directors for the Virginia Peanut Growers Association and the Virginia Crop Improvement Association. He serves on the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s Peanut Advisory Committee and is an active participant of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program.
Drake is a member of Newsoms Baptist Church. In his spare time, he serves on the Newsoms Volunteer Fire Department and enjoys traveling and attending agricultural conferences to broaden his knowledge. Drake also enjoys writing columns for his local paper, the Tidewater News, often reporting on agriculture.
“As alternate on the National Peanut Board, I want to fairly represent the growers in my home state and bring their interests to the board,” said Drake. “I also want to bring back the knowledge that I will learn. I think this is important, so that growers have a better understanding of what their checkoff dollars are going toward.”
Jeffery Roper of Lubbock is the newly-appointed Texas alternate.
Roper owns and operates Jeffery Roper Farms and produces organic peanuts, cotton, organic milo, and organic wheat and native grasses. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture from Texas Tech University and is a graduate of Syngenta Peanut Leadership Academy.
Throughout his farming career he has been involved in several peanut industry organizations including the Texas Farm Bureau, Western Peanut Growers Association and Texas Peanut Producers Board, where he currently serves as secretary/treasurer. He has been a member of the American Peanut Council Export Board since 2012, having served as secretary/treasurer, vice-chairman and currently as chairman. He has also served as a board member for Sandyland Underground Water Conservation District.
With First Baptist Church in Plains, Texas, he has served on numerous committees and as interim youth minister. He served with Texas Baptist Men Disaster Relief as a volunteer, team leader and FEMA liaison. Currently he volunteers on the worship team of Turning Point Community Church.
Roper and his wife, Melissa, have two children; a married daughter, Brittney Shipley, and a son Bryson. In his spare time, Roper plays golf and has a private pilot’s license.
“I’m looking forward to serving on the National Peanut Board, especially in the important area of exports” said Roper. “I’ve been honored to serve in the past in a number of peanut industry organizations and my appointment to the National Peanut Board is a good way to continue working to help increase profitability for the producer.”