By Clint Thompson
Saturday’s conclusion to the Southern Peanut Growers Conference allowed leaders of the four-state Southern Peanut Farmers Federation to hear from peanut producers.
The listening session was valuable for the success of the industry moving forward, said Don Koehler, executive director of the Georgia Peanut Commission.
“With this farm bill looking right down the pipe and that’s coming up really soon, we felt like it was critical to let the farmers have an opportunity to talk about things that work and things that don’t,” Koehler said. “Sometimes folks don’t tell you unless you give them the opportunity and you put it there where they’re a captive audience. That really worked out well for us to have the listening session and hear what our farmers are thinking.
“As a rule, folks are pretty happy with the way the peanut program works. But there’s never anything that can’t be improved a little bit.”
Senator John Boozman
Growers and industry leaders also heard from U.S. Senator John Boozman from Arkansas. He discussed the upcoming farm bill.
“The thing that’s nice about having someone like Senator Boozman from Arkansas is he’s the ranking member on the Senate Ag Committee right now. He has a lot of influence there. Ag committees in Washington tend to be bi-partisan, so the party doesn’t matter as much as the subject matter,” Koehler said. “It was really good to have him here and hear his perspective on how this farm bill will play out along with the other issues that are going on Washington right now so that we could have a real feel for what we’re dealing with as we deal with the issues in Washington moving forward.”
Members of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation meet at the Southern Peanut Growers Conference every year. The group comprises farmers from Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi.