Southwest Farm Press and Southeast Farm Press are looking for a few profitable peanut producers.

Deadline for nominations for the 2005 Peanut Profitability Award is April 15, 2005. Peanut growers from the Southwest (Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico), the Southeast (Georgia, Alabama and Florida) and the Virginia-Carolina area (North and South Carolina and Virginia) are eligible to enter.

Winners will be honored at the annual Southern Peanut Growers Conference, July 17-19, in Panama City, Fla.

Paul Hollis, editor of Southeast Farm Press, said the program is unique in that it is more than a yield contest. Growers are selected on overall farm efficiency, not just a high yield from a specific field.

The efficiency concept came from the significant changes peanuts growers witnessed with the overhaul of the peanut support program.

“Since the inception of the Peanut Profitability Awards, producers have experienced historic and monumental changes, going from a government quota program to a market-oriented approach,” said Greg Frey, Farm Press publisher. “Our aim has been to recognize growers who have shown adaptability in the face of such changes, and who have continued to produce profitable peanut crops.”

“The Farm Press Peanut Profitability Awards Program began with the first-ever Southern Peanut Growers Conference, and the two have grown together. This year will mark the sixth class of Peanut Profitability winning growers, and each class continues to impress with innovative ways of improving bottom-line profits.”

Ron Smith, editor of Southwest Farm Press, said the annual award allows Farm Press to recognize some of the most innovative producers in the peanut belt. “We are constantly pleased with the quality of the nominees,” he said. “We’ve met some awfully good farmers through this program.”

Winners of the 2004 awards were honored for production efficiency achieved during the 2003 growing season. They included Joseph H. Ward, Chowan County, N.C., Virginia-Carolina Region; Sauls Partnership, Randolph County, Ga., Southeast Region; and Jimbo Grissom, Gaines County, Texas, Southwest Region.

The winning nominations for the 2005 awards will come from production efficiency during the 2004 growing season. Winners of the 2005 awards will receive an expenses-paid trip for two to the Southern Peanut Growers Conference in Panama City, Fla., set for July 2005. They also will receive limited-edition signed and numbered prints from noted watercolor artist Jack DeLoney.

In addition, the winners are featured in special Peanut Profitability issues of Southeast Farm Press and Southwest Farm Press.

Peanut Profitability Award Program advisor Marshall Lamb, research leader with the National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, Ga. Lamb, was instrumental in the creation of the awards program and designed the nomination form to determine production efficiency.

“While achieving consistently high yields and grades is important, it’s only part of the equation. The elements of production cost and price are equally important factors,” Lamb said.

The grower nomination form for the Peanut Profitability Award is extensive, Lamb said, and considers both fixed and variable costs.

“We’re looking at per-unit costs, and how effectively farmers manage their cost structures,” he said.

Assisting with the awards program is an Advisory Board comprised of Extension peanut specialists, county agents, economists and commodity group officials from the major peanut-producing states. They help distribute nomination forms within their respective states and educate potential nominees about the program.

Farm Press editors, working with Lamb, select the regional winners from the pool of state nominees. Members of the Advisory Board, along with Lamb, are charged with periodically reviewing the awards program to insure consistency. Actual per-unit costs and returns information from nomination forms will remain confidential to Lamb and members of the Advisory Board.

Growers may submit their nomination form directly to the National Peanut Research Laboratory, or they may submit it to their county Extension agent, peanut specialist, economist or Farm Press editor.

Growers can access the nomination form via the Internet at southeastfarmpress.com and southwestfarmpress.com. A micro-site on each of the Farm Press Web sites also offers an overview of the program, articles on peanut profitability and production practices from past winners.

The program also can be linked from various commodity group Web sites. To receive a hard copy of the form, call Farm Press headquarters at (662) 624-8503 or contact any member of the Advisory Board.

The program does not stop with the awards program. “A second major component of the Peanut Profitability Program is education,” Frey said. “Southeast Farm Press and Southwest Farm Press accomplished this in the past year by publishing numerous articles on peanut production efficiency. We hope that farmers from throughout the Peanut Belt will learn from the production practices of growers who receive the award.”

Farm Press will continue to publish articles in the coming year focusing on peanut production efficiency. Each article will bear the Peanut Profitability Program logo so that readers can recognize it easily.

For the first time this past year, Peanut Profitability’s education component also funded an internship to a deserving college student majoring in agricultural communications.