One of Georgia’s top agricultural commodities will be highlighted during its annual tour in September.
The 27th annual Georgia Peanut Tour will be held in south Georgia, Sept. 17-19. Started as an effort to attract more buyers to the state, the tour is an opportunity for industry leaders and farmers to showcase the crop’s quality and planting and how peanuts are handled post-harvest.
The tour also gives University of Georgia peanut scientists a chance to showcase the latest research being conducted in an industry that generated more than $580 million in 2011, according to the Georgia Farm Gate Value Report.
“We think it’s critically important that the manufacturers and processors and anyone that’s involved in the handling of peanuts understands what the University of Georgia does in regards to research,” said John Beasley, a UGA peanut agronomist.
“We can showcase the fact that we have research in all aspects of pest management, agronomics, engineering, economics and food technology. We just want them to understand that we conduct both basic and applied research in peanut production.”
The tour will start in Valdosta on Tuesday, Sept. 17, where a “hot topics” seminar will be conducted, beginning at 3 p.m. Among the featured speakers will be UGA agricultural economist Stanley Fletcher and UGA Extension agricultural economist Nathan Smith.
On Wednesday participants will visit the Sunbelt Expo in Moultrie to view a demonstration of an unmanned aerial vehicle system that could be used in the future to capture peanut images. The tour will later move to the Gibbs Farm in Tifton where UGA research will be the focus.
“We just want them to get a flavor of how in-depth the University of Georgia research programs are in peanut production,” Beasley said.
After lunch at the Blackshank Farm, the tour will move to Kelley Manufacturing Co. and the Georgia Department of Agriculture Laboratory and Georgia Federal-State Inspection Service. Participants will learn how peanuts are examined at state department laboratories, how peanuts are graded and how peanut combines are made.
On Thursday, the tour will move to Brooks County and Lee, Fla., for field and farm stops.
Registration for the tour is ongoing and costs $45. For more information, contact Dana Danforth at the Georgia Peanut Commission at (229) 386-7281.
(Clint Thompson is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences based in Tifton.)