Nearly 500 peanut industry representatives from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and beyond are already registered for the Southern Peanut Growers Conference, according to Randy Griggs with the Alabama Peanut Producers.
“We thought that maybe because of the fuel prices our attendance might be off, but that’s not the case,” Randy says. In fact, with families coming, Randy expects there to be as many as 1500 at the meeting, which is centrally located for all the states at the Edgewater Beach Resort in Panama City. “We needed some place that people could get to within a day’s drive,” he said. “We wanted the accommodation to be family-oriented and didn’t want the registration to be so high that it would be prohibitive.”
This is the 10th annual event for the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, which started with just Alabama, Florida and Georgia and grew to include Mississippi two years ago. “But we don’t limit it to that as far as our audience is concerned,” said Randy. “We’ll have growers from practically every producing state and every segment of the industry is going to be represented and involved.”
Randy says they aim to provide growers with educational experiences they might not otherwise get, and this year that includes a Congressional simulation program, where participants get to play the role of a Congressman to get an idea of how Washington works.
“We’re going to debate some issues and let them vote on bills and see if they can get re-elected,” said Randy. Growers will also receive an update on the new Farm Bill results and regulations.
Listen to a pre-conference interview with Randy here:
Randy Griggs Interview (5:30 min MP3)