As for farmer stock peanuts, Lutt sees the two primary issues being aflatoxin and increasing the quality of in-shell peanuts.

“As an industry, we do a good job of dealing with aflatoxin. Once we get that farmer stock peanut, through segregation, blanching, and through re-milling, we’ve done a good job of handling that once we have a peanut with aflatoxin.”

But improvements can be made on the front end of that process, he says.

“In terms of managing our farms better, how do we better identify historically where we have pockets in the field that need more emphasis and attention? We need to get to the point to where the farmer can go to the sheller say that he has a higher level of certainty that a particular load has to be dealt with in a special way. In my opinion, we haven’t taken advantage of some of the technology that’s available, and we need to develop new technology that will help us deal with the issue more effectively.”

In an export and worldwide market, the industry needs to be looking at increasing the quality of in-shell peanuts, says Lutt. “We need to look at how a grower can more effectively accomplish this. We need to work with breeders to get an in-shell peanut that’s marketable in this worldwide market that has better shell strength.”

Whether a producer brings in farmer stock with 5, 8 or 10-percent cracked or broken, he is paid the same in today’s system, says Lutt.

“There’s not a bonus or incentive for a farmer to do better, other than him just taking pride in trying to be a top producer. There are opportunities there for the grower, the sheller and ultimately the retailer.”

The U.S. peanut industry, he says, has much to be proud of.

“We have a low-cost source of protein that serves nutritional needs around the world, and it’s a great tasting product that people love. Whenever you think about sustainability and all of those things that people are interested in today, we meet all of the criteria.”