Unsung Heroes of Harvest: The crucial role Buying Points play in peanut production

With the peanut harvest in full swing, The Georgia Farm Monitor traces one of the state’s key crops on its journey from the fields to the shelling plant, revealing a complex process guided by the man in the middle — peanut buying points.

Peanut harvest is concluding in Georgia, signaling the commencement of shelling operations working tirelessly on this year’s crop. The Georgia Farm Monitor traces one of the state’s key commodity crops on its journey from the fields to the shelling plant, revealing a complex process guided by an unsung hero — peanut buying points.

In its transition from fields to the final product, the journey of the humble peanut involves numerous, challenging steps. This is where the peanut buying points step in, providing essential assistance to growers navigating this intricate process.

Tifton Peanut’s General Manager Timmy Domingue describes the buying point as the intermediary between shelling plants and farmers. They equip farmers with the necessary tools to transport their peanuts from the field to the buying point. The buying point’s responsibilities include drying, cleaning, grading, and segregating peanuts based on their grades before they head to the shelling plant.

During this crucial time of the year, these operations become vital for growers. The buying points not only facilitate sales negotiations and documentation but also provide equipment that the majority of farmers lack on their farms. The buying point serves as a necessary element to help farmers dry and clean their peanuts, tasks that would be challenging for them to manage independently.

While sometimes overlooked, the drying process plays a pivotal role. Peanuts are not ready for the shelling plant straight from the field; they must first meet specific moisture levels. Domingue highlights the importance of maintaining the right moisture to prevent molding or excessive dryness that could lead to splitting during the shelling process.

For this year’s crop in Georgia, peanut producers faced a challenging growing season with high temperatures and prolonged dry spells that impacted both the quality and quantity of the crop, affecting yields and grades. This, coupled with lagging prices, resulted in a less abundant crop than the previous year.

Domingue noted that the ideal price for peanuts would be around $750, emphasizing the current market challenges faced by peanut growers.

According to the National Peanut Buying Points Association, there are over 350 buying locations across the U.S. that receive, weigh, clean, dry, inspect, and grade the nation’s peanuts. These buying points play a crucial role in ensuring the success of the peanut harvest season, supporting farmers, and contributing to the journey from field to shelling plant.

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