Fighting for a seat at the table of choosy consumers around the world can be a pretty tough nut to crack.

But it’s a task that suits Houston County, Ala., peanut farmer George Jeffcoat perfectly. After all, he knows the business from the ground up — literally.

Jeffcoat grows more than 1,000 acres of peanuts annually on his farm in Gordon, located southeast of Dothan. This year, he’s spent almost as much time on the road as he’s spent tending his crops, traveling the globe promoting peanuts as chairman of the National Peanut Board.

The fifth-generation farmer is approaching the end of his one-year term as chairman of the group, and he’s completing his sixth year on the board.

“The main focus of the board is research and promotion,” said Jeffcoat, who also serves as president of the Houston County Farmers Federation and as a board member of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association. “More demand equals more value for farmers. Research is especially important for me and all farmers so we can meet that growing demand.”

The board is funded by the National Peanut Checkoff. Producers in each peanut-producing state nominate a member to the board, which then is approved by the U.S. secretary of agriculture. Jeffcoat said he wants peanut farmers to know their money is being put to good use.