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Focusing on peanut industry changes and opportunities

Part education, part location, part fellowship and all for peanuts, the conference turns 20 years old this year and will kick off July 19 at the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Florida.

I have the pleasure of attending many good farm-related conferences and meetings each year. The Southern Peanut Growers Conference is one of the best. I’d say that even if I didn’t know well the good folks who put it together.

Part education, part location, part fellowship and all for peanuts, the conference turns 20 years old this year and will kick off July 19 at the Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Florida.

The theme for this year’s conference is “Opportunities in Change.” The organizers say the conference will focus on growth opportunities and changes within the peanut industry. The first day will highlight peanut promotional activities, the opportunities and challenges facing rural areas, along with a question and answer session with a panel of researchers.

Farm Press will be there, too. During a Saturday breakfast program we’ll be introducing and championing the three winners of our Peanut Efficiency Award, which will come from the Southwest, upper Southeast and lower Southeast regions of the peanut belt. The PEA program has had each year top growers, and our class of 2018 is as good as we’ve ever had. We look forward to hosting our winners and their families at the conference.

The conference on Saturday will include keynote address by U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., a member of the House Committee on Agriculture. Following Dunn’s talk, Bob Redding, who represents the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation in Washington, will lead a question-and-answer session with commodity leaders regarding policy and the 2018 Farm Bill. And maybe by conference time we’ll have good reason to talk about a good farm bill.

But that’s just the meat of the conference, which also provides ample time to visit with peanut industry representatives and vendors all along the supply chain. There are plenty of receptions, dinners and entertainment dotted throughout the conference’s agenda, too, including a prayer breakfast Friday morning.

The conference is part of the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, which also turns 20 this year, and includes the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, the Florida Peanut Producers Association, the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association and the Georgia Peanut Commission.

The family-friendly conference is worth the time to attend for anyone in the peanut industry, especially those who want to stay ahead of changes or to help better guide them.

Good luck. Take care, and thanks for reading.

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