The Texas Peanut Producers Board (TPPB) and American Peanut Council (APC) hosted a delegation of 17 Japanese peanut buyers in the Dallas area in October to familiarize them with the production and shelling practices of the Texas peanut industry.

The tour began with a trip to The Clint Williams Shelling Facility in Madill, Okla., which processes mostly peanuts grown in Texas.

"This is a great opportunity for us to show our international buyers the extreme care we put into providing them with a great product," said Shelly Nutt, TPPB executive director. "By showing them the various peanut companies in the state, they can get a real feel for how the entire industry works hard to provide buyers with the best possible peanut."

The Japanese buyers were taken through every step of the shelling process while company managers answered their questions about safety, sanitation and quality issues.

"Our state's shelling facilities are spotless, safe and efficient, and can produce a quality product that is competitive in the international market," said Larry Don Womack, DeLeon peanut grower and TPPB vice chairman.

The tour made a stop at the Universal Blanchers, LLC facility near Stephenville, as well as the Golden Peanut shelling facility in Comyn.

Womack, Don Keith and Scotty Koonce, also TPPB directors and growers from the area, joined the tour during its stop in the Stephenville region, and answered questions about production practices.

After touring the east Texas peanut facilities, the group traveled to West Texas to visit the Birdsong shelling facility in Brownfield. TPPB Chairman Otis Lee Johnson and TPPB Director James Martin led the delegation through peanut fields that were ready for digging or already drying out for thrashing.

For many of the visiting Japanese, this was their first time to see peanuts growing out in the field.

"I think it's important for our buyers to see where the Texas peanuts they purchase are grown and the process they go through before they reach the end product in a grocery store," said Johnson, who grows peanuts in Gaines County.

"This tour provided the group with a chance to see the diverse Texas peanut growing regions while gaining an understanding of how the whole state works together to produce a quality, great tasting peanut," Nutt added.