The theme of the 11th annual Southern Peanut Growers Conference is really a tribute to the U.S. peanut industry for overcoming adversity in 2009.
Everyone knows that this year has been a tough one for the industry, starting out with the salmonella issue in January. But, Georgia Peanut Commission executive director Don Koehler says the industry has come back stronger than ever after what could have been a complete crisis.
“Farmers are really resilient and even though it wasn’t a crisis they caused themselves, we have made it through,” Don says. “And the really good news is that our May 2009 numbers for peanut butter were 13 1/2 percent over what we did in May 2008.”
That is truly an amazing example of crisis management and communications, two topics growers will be hearing about during the conference this week, as well as an even bigger emphasis on food safety than ever before. “We want to make sure that can never happen again,” said Don. “But, when you look at it, we’ve got to take our hats off and maybe even bow just a little bit to the growers and to the peanut industry in general.”
Listen to an interview with Don here:
Don Koehler (3:00 min MP3)
The SPGC Flickr Photo Album is started – view it here and keep checking back as photos will continue to be updated throughout the conference.