Texas farmer and president of the Western Peanut Growers Association Jimbo Grissom recently told a Senate panel that U.S. peanut producers support two provisions for a new farm bill — an equitable risk management tool and a “producer choice” crop program.

Grissom told the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry that in addition to a viable crop insurance program, peanut producers need “a real choice between a new revenue program for peanuts and a target price program for peanuts.”

The hearing was entitled “Risk Management & Commodities in the 2012 Farm Bill.”

The “producer choice,” he said, should be between a counter cyclical-type program (with no direct payments) with a $534 per-ton target price and a $355 per-ton marketing loan, or a new revenue program based on the Rotterdam price with a price floor of $534 and a differentiation in peanuts yields between irrigation production and non-irrigated production with a $355 per-ton marketing loan.

Grissom, who farms in Seminole in west Texas, was speaking to the committee on behalf of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation and the United Peanut Alliance.

The federation is comprised of the four Southeastern peanut-producing states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi, and the alliance is made up of the six peanut-growing states in the Virginia-Carolina region and the Southwest, including North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Peanut producers are showing a united front, he said, in presenting a program that works for all three peanut-producing regions.

Before outlining the program proposal, Grissom told senators of the crop disasters experienced by peanut producers in 2011. Texas saw the worst drought in its history this past year, with dry conditions extending to Oklahoma and neighboring states. The Southeast also had drought problems last year.

“For the entire year, I received 1.2 inches of rain on my farm, and it fell at only two or three-tenths of an inch at a time.” Extreme heat and excessive heat accompanied the drought, he added, with 48 days of 100 degrees or higher and sustained winds of 60 miles per hour.

“Mine and many other peanut yields were cut by two-thirds, with fields normally producing 5,000 pounds per acre yielding only 1,700 pounds per acre.

“Clearly, we have never seen these extreme conditions in our area before — there is simply no precedent for this disaster.”