Peanut production tumbles statewide

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

SUSSEX, VA (WWBT) - Production of peanuts in the commonwealth has taken a significant tumble! Growers planted about 50 percent less acres of the crop this year compared to last year.

Peanut production was once considered a big money maker for producers but now an increasing number of local farmers say harvesting the crop just doesn't make financial sense

Lance Everett has produced peanuts just about all his life but that's about to change.

"We're leaning away from peanuts more and more all the time now," said Everett.

Sellers aren't offering producers as much money for the crop. In 2008, Everett says he was getting $600 a ton for peanuts. Now, he gets about $485.

According to the Virginia Peanut Growers Association, peanut production is down about half this year when compared to 2008. Last year peanut growers statewide produced about 38 thousand tons of peanuts; this year about 20 thousand tons. It's a trend that's expected to continue in the commonwealth.

"We'll see less acreage next year than this year due to the fact that the contracts are still low," said Mike Parrish who's a cooperative extension agent in Dinwiddie County.

Despite the decrease in production in Virginia there isn't a shortage of peanuts nationwide.

"There was a large quantity of peanuts produced in Georgia and South Carolina last year. So, for people who buy peanut products at the grocery store - there will not be an increase in price," said Parrish.

As for Everett, he and other local farmers are relying more on other crops in order to turn a good profit.

"Our family has raised peanuts for several generations. It's what we've made our living on -- so it's sad to see it's going away a bit. But you got to move on and grow what you make a profit on," said Everett.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.