What is in this article?:
- Alabama grower serves as peanut ambassador to world
- Money well spent
• George Jeffcoat grows more than 1,000 acres of peanuts annually on his farm in Gordon, Ala., 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.
Money well spent
“We spend 80 percent of the checkoff money for promotion, and 20 percent goes toward research,” he said. “We have to make consumers aware of our product. We compete with all other nuts and food items for a market share, so it’s important that we encourage consumers to remember peanuts, not just for a snack, but in a variety of ways.”
Some promotions include introducing chefs of large restaurant chains to use peanuts in their recipes along with the ongoing efforts to use peanuts in the candy and snack markets.
Alabama Peanut Producers Association Executive Director Randy Griggs said Jeffcoat is an excellent example of how producers lead the organization.
“George has done an outstanding job,” Griggs said. “He’s sacrificed a lot of time away from his farm this year, but he knows how important it is to him and all the farmers he represents.”
During his year as chairman, Jeffcoat visited numerous states, from California to New York. He traveled to Japan in August, where he met with the Japanese Nut Growers Association. During all the meetings he attended, the representatives were most impressed that he was an actual farmer.
“I think it impressed them (the Japanese officials) that I wasn’t some corporate spokesperson, but I am a real farmer who actually grows peanuts,” Jeffcoat said. “They appreciate the quality of food we grow, and meeting a real farmer gives our product credibility. It’s important that we put a face on our industry.
“It’s been an honor for me to represent peanut farmers from throughout the country, and it’s been an experience I’ll never forget.”