Anthony Reed was born into peanuts. It’s a family heritage that goes back more than a half-century and includes monumental changes in the industry but also traditions that makes it easy for him to say: “I’m a peanut farmer.”
Reed, who farms near Thackerville, Okla., credits his father for getting him started in farming and teaching him how to do it. Reed's management skills and efficient production earned him the 2015 Peanut Profitability Award for the Southwest Region. He and his wife, Karen, will accept the award July 25 during the annual Southern Peanut Growers Conference in Callaway Gardens, Georgia.
“My dad also grew watermelons and said he made more money from watermelons than he did peanuts, but he considered himself a peanut farmer. I make more money with cattle but I consider myself a peanut farmer. I was raised growing peanuts and peanuts have been good to my family.”
His father, Chester, was growing peanuts back in the early ‘40s, during World War II. “Dad had four brothers in the war and he farmed and raised peanuts for the government. They needed peanut oil to make clean-burning diesel.”
Reed says his father was share-cropping in Gainesville, Texas, when he was born, 1954. “I was number 11 of 12 children. Dad was a cotton and peanut farmer and one year he made a good enough cotton crop to get together a down payment to buy the farm in Thackerville. Reed and two brothers later took over the farm. Both brothers are now deceased; the youngest, Tim, lost a battle with cancer just this past January.
Reed intends to keep the land in production.
“I’ve been through a few hard years, but, except for eight years serving as a county commissioner, I’ve never held an off-farm job. When I was 12 years old I told my dad that I wanted to farm. I always wanted to farm.”
He says Tim was never as adamant about farming but wanted to work the farm with him anyway. “We worked it together.”
He says the farm would “sell for good money.” The property is close to a huge casino and land values have risen steeply.
“But as long as I am alive and I’m here to look after it, this land will be farmed.”