Peanut Growers and Food Safety

Cindy Zimmerman2009 Conference, AudioLeave a Comment

Peanut growers were not to blame for the salmonella contamination problem that happened earlier this year, but everyone can do their part to make sure peanuts are the safest product possible from farm to plate.

The role that peanut growers play in food safety was addressed during the Southern Peanut Producers Conference today by Dr. Darlene Cowert, president of JLA USA, a tech services company based in Albany, Georgia. “Food ingredient safety is started at the farm level,” Darlene says, and growers can minimize risk on their operations to deliver a safe product to shellers and ultimately to consumers.

Her presentation was a joint effort between her company and the American Peanut Council to revamp and improve the good agricultural practices. The APC board will vote on those practices and ultimately that will lead to educational sessions to be offered through county extension offices.

Listen to my interview with Dr. Cowert here:

Listen To MP3Darlene Cowert (3:30 min MP3)

Southern Peanut Growers 2009 Flickr Photo Album

Bayer Continues Support for Peanut Industry

Cindy Zimmerman2009 Conference, Audio, Conference SponsorsLeave a Comment

Bayer Crop Science has been a sponsor of the Southern Peanut Growers Conference since it started 11 years ago and they are especially proud to help welcome the industry every year by hosting the opening dinner and entertainment.

Southeast district sales manager John Hand says Bayer Crop Science is committed to the peanut industry. “The information that is shared at this meeting for producers is vital for their success and we have a large portfolio of products that we offer to help them be successful as well,” John tells me.

Among those products are Trilex, Proline, Absolute, and Provost, which John says all help growers protect their crop and get higher yields.

Listen To MP3John Hand (3:00 min MP3)

Southern Peanut Growers 2009 Flickr Photo Album

Peanuts and Politics

Cindy Zimmerman2009 Conference, AudioLeave a Comment

First up on the agenda at the Southern Peanut Growers Conference Monday morning was Congressman Allen Boyd (D-FL), who gave growers and industry members an update on what’s happening in Washington DC these days could will affect them. Among the topics he discussed were food safety, agriculture funding, health care reform and energy.

“We’ve got a good solid farm bill that was written just a year ago, we’re going to get some energy legislation that I hope is going to work for us,” Boyd said. “Number one, it’s going to give us a less expensive, reliable energy source domestically, and number two we (agriculture) are going to be in a large part providing that resource.”

Southeast Agnet reporter Randall Weiseman interviewed Rep. Boyd about some of the issues. Listen to that interview here.

Listen To MP3Southeast Agnet Interview with Allen Boyd (4:00 min MP3)

Southern Peanut Growers 2009 Flickr Photo Album

Redfish and Peanuts

Cindy Zimmerman2009 Conference, Audio1 Comment

A new addition this year to the Southern Peanut Growers Conference first day fun was a Redfish Sport Fishing Seminar, presented by Redfish Riviera Outfitters.

Steve Bailey with Redfish Riviera and Captain Daniel Snapp with Grassy Flats Charters, in colorful shirts promoting peanuts, presented tips and tricks of the fishing trade to peanut growers and their families.

Listen to an interview with Steve and Captain Daniel here:
Listen To MP3Redfish (4:00 min MP3)

Southern Peanut Growers 2009 Flickr Photo Album

Peanut Butter Makes Cherries Divine

Cindy Zimmerman2009 Conference, AudioLeave a Comment

A simply divine treat is in the bag of goodies given to each person at registration for the Southern Peanut Growers Conference – chocolate covered peanut butter cherries. And they are just incredibly delicious.

Leslie Wagner with the Peanut Advisory Board says the new gourmet product comes from a company called Cherries Divine Chocolatiers. “We actually helped them develop the product and they are going to be offering them in their product line,” Leslie said. “This is a very high-end company. They really specialize in fancy, corporate gifts, weddings and things like that. So, it’s a high end company and peanut butter will be right there in the middle of it!”

Leslie says the Peanut Advisory Board has been very busy with promotional activities this year, such as two nights of Screen on the Green, an annual outdoor film festival and a popular Atlanta summertime tradition, where they gave away peanuts and Lance peanut butter snack products.

Listen to an interview with Leslie here:
Listen To MP3Leslie Wagner (6:00 min MP3)

Southern Peanut Growers 2009 Flickr Photo Album

Comfort Food Greets Peanut Conference Attendees

Cindy Zimmerman2009 ConferenceLeave a Comment

Registration for a conference is often just a hum-drum experience – but at the Southern Peanut Growers Conference, it’s a taste of true southern hospitality.

The Peanut Advisory Board has made it an annual tradition to welcome the peanut industry members and families as they arrive in Panama City Beach with a sweet treat – ice cream with all kinds of toppings, especially peanuts.

Another tasty afternoon snack is provided by the National Peanut Buying Points Association – grilled PB&J to make Elvis envious!

It is a wonderful opportunity for the members of the peanut industry family to meet and greet each other before the real work gets underway.

See more photos in the SPGC Flickr Photo Album

Hats Off to Peanut Growers

Cindy Zimmerman2009 Conference, AudioLeave a Comment

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:
Listen To MP3Don 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.

All Star Peanut Conference Plans

Cindy Zimmerman2009 Conference, Conference AnnouncementLeave a Comment

The 11th Annual Southern Peanut Growers Conference promises to be a “star-studded” event. The conference gets underway Sunday July 12 at the Edgewater Beach Resort in Panama City Beach, Florida with an all-star line up featuring sessions on food safety, marketing, communications, and more.

The stars will all come out Tuesday night for the annual dinner and entertainment as we roll out the red carpet with an Oscar night theme. Conducting red carpet interviews for P! Entertainment will be the almost-famous Joan Goobers and her daughter Melissa.

Here’s a hat’s off to this year’s sponsors of the conference.

Southern Peanut Farmers Federation
Alabama Peanut Producers Association
Florida Peanut Producers Association
Georgia Peanut Commission
Mississippi Peanut Growers Association
Peanut Advisory Board
Syngenta
Bayer CropScience
BASF
National Peanut Board
Valent
Trimble Agriculture/Ag Technologies, LLC
Farm Press
First South Farm Credit
National Peanut Buying Points Association
Dow AgroSciences
Alabama Farmers Federation
AMVAC
Arysta LifeScience
Becker Underwood
Birdsong Peanuts
EMD Crop BioScience, Inc.
Farm Progress
Georgia Farm Bureau
Golden Peanut Co.
Nichino America, Inc.
Southwest Georgia Farm Credit
Stallings Crop Insurance/ProAg
Peanut Grower
Southeastern Peanut Farmer
JLA USA
GrassWorks Weed Wiper LLC

Presented by the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation
– in conjunction with –
Auburn University, University of Florida and
University of Georgia

2009 Conference Dates Set

Cindy Zimmerman2009 ConferenceLeave a Comment

EdgewaterThe dates have been set for the 2009 Southern Peanut Growers Conference, once again at the fabulous Edgewater Beach Resort in Panama City.

The dates are July 12-14 and you can look forward to registration information coming very soon on the conference website.

Once again, we will be there blogging the event here on the SPGC blog with photos, audio interviews and videos – so stay tuned!

Joy’s Photos

Cindy ZimmermanUncategorizedLeave a Comment

SPGC staffI finally got a chance to add Joy Carter’s photos to Flickr. I had a chance to see her again last week at the Ag Media Summit in Tampa where she gave me the CD with all her photos from the conference. I started a new album for them because there are over 300. She has lots of photos that I did not get – so be sure to check it out by clicking on the link below.

Joy’s SPGC 2008 Photo Album

By the way – the original photo album has been viewed over 1900 times! That is a new record for the ZimmComm AgWired photo sets.