The USDA recently announced the passage of a referendum to continue the National Peanut Board, a farmer funded advertising, promotion and research board that works to increase demand for USA-grown peanuts. The referendum, held in April, was passed by 89 percent of the producers who voted. Ballots were mailed to all peanut growers who paid the promotion assessment in 2008.

"We're thrilled at this vote of confidence, and we pledge to continue working hard to bring great value to America's peanut Farmers," said Roger Neitsch, NPB chairman. 

Neitsch also said, "We want to thank all of our friends throughout the peanut industry who not only supported the referendum, but prove to be great partners every day."

Since its inception in 2001, the National Peanut Board has been critical in maintaining receptive markets and increasing consumption of USA-grown peanuts. Here are just a few highlights:

Increased peanut mentions on menus of top 200 restaurant chains by 146 percent over the past seven years (source: Food Beat, Inc.)

Increased peanut butter usage by an average of 21.5 percent since the launch of NPB programs

Invested more than $13 million on more than 275 production research projects to help farmers increase yields while implementing the most sustainable farming practices

Funded more than $6 million in food allergy research, education and outreach to help identify causes and seek treatments for food allergy sufferers

This Spring, launched "Peanuts: Energy for the Good Life," the centerpiece of a new nationwide advertising campaign and slogan available for use across from peanut industry

"Peanut farmers everywhere can be proud to have such a great "self help" program that's funded by farmers and led by farmers. You're really making a difference in everything from food allergy education and research to new product development," said Raffaela Marie Fenn, NPB president and managing director.

Fenn said NPB looks forward to building on relationships the Board has already established and forging new alliances within the peanut industry and beyond.

The National Peanut Board is currently rolling out a full scale social media campaign that includes everything from well known outlets like Facebook and Twitter to a brand new blog designed to create buzz among everyone from physicians to foodies.

"We're always stretching ourselves and looking for new ways to spread the word about the great nutritional benefits and culinary versatility of the peanuts our farmers take such pride in growing. Our social media strategy is just the latest example," said Fenn. 

 For more information visit the National Peanut Board.