virginia peanut yield sets national record in 2014
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Virginia peanut yield sets national record in 2014

economic-forecast-headerThe Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) announced that 2014 was a record-setting year for Virginia peanut growers. The Commonwealth broke national records with a yield of 4,350 pounds per acre, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Growers credit these extremely high yields to improved seed varieties, longer rotations and good growing conditions. The 2014 national average was a yield of 3,932 pounds per acre.

The Commonwealth’s top peanut producers were Walter F. Drake, Jr. and his sons, Matt and Jason, from Southampton County. In 2014, Drake Farms yielded 6,058 pounds per acre on 119 acres. The award was presented at the Virginia Peanut Growers Association meeting in early February.

“In addition to being a delicious and nutritious snack, peanuts are important to Virginia’s diverse agriculture industry,” said Sandra J. Adams, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “We congratulate the Commonwealth’s peanut growers on 2014’s record-breaking harvest and look forward to celebrating National Peanut Month in March.”

According to the National Peanut Board, peanuts are grown commercially in 15 U.S. states. The Commonwealth is known for producing the large, premium Virginia type, which is prized for its exceptional taste, texture and size. Virginia boasts the ideal climate and soil conditions for peanut production in the southeastern part of the state, including Dinwiddie, Greensville, Isle of Wight, Prince George, Southampton, Surry, Sussex Counties and the City of Suffolk. While peanut farms are concentrated in Southeastern Virginia, specialty food companies across the state produce peanut-based food and confectionary items, including gourmet Virginia peanuts, in-shell peanuts, flavored peanuts, and peanut butter, candies and snack foods. More than 30 of these companies have earned inclusion in the Virginia’s Finest® trademark program and are listed on www.vafinest.com.

The Commonwealth is home to approximately 175 peanut growers. According to USDA NASS data, Virginia peanut growers harvested 19,000 acres with more than 82 million pounds of production in 2014. The Virginia peanut industry ranks 16th out of Virginia’s top 20 agricultural commodities in terms of cash receipts.

March is National Peanut Month. To celebrate, the Virginia Peanut Growers Association and Peanut Proud, the industry’s charitable organization, will donate more than 10,000 jars of peanut butter to the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia to be distributed across the state. Because protein-rich peanut butter is a popular staple at food banks, the Virginia Peanut Growers encourage Virginians to join them in contributing to local food banks during National Peanut Month. For peanut facts and recipes, visit Virginia Carolinas Peanuts and the National Peanut Board online.

Staff/Wire

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