The Farm Press Peanut Profitability Award has been presented to more than 40 peanut producers over the past 13 years, but the 2012 class might have topped them all as far as combining the basic tenets of the program, says Marshall Lamb, research director for the National Peanut Research Laboratory and advisor for the program.

This year’s awards were presented in Panama City, Fla., as part of the 14th Annual Southern Peanut Growers Conference. Producers from each growing region of the U.S. Peanut Belt were honored for their production efficiency.

Winners for 2012 included the following: Lower Southeast Region — I.C. Terry Farms, Lake City, Fla.; Upper Southeast Region — Bud Bowers, Luray, S.C.; and Southwest Region — Joe D. White, Tillman County, Okla.

“This program encompasses all the elements of profitability,” says Lamb. “We look at yield — both irrigated and non-irrigated — the price and how it contributes to the total revenue stream, and we also look at the cost side. This group of winners combined probably have brought those elements together better than any group we’ve had.”

It’s hard to believe, says Lamb, that the awards program is honoring its 13th group of growers. “It’s a great program, and I appreciate the opportunity to work with the people of Farm Press and with the growers,” he says.

“We’re looking at production efficiency, marketing and cost-management, including equipment cost-management. Sometimes that means utilizing used equipment and making it work on your farm,” says Lamb.

This year’s honorees showed incredible management skills through devastating drought conditions in the Southwest and in the lower Southeast, he continues. “And our upper Southeast winner has a very field-specific management plan that he employs on his farm. All these growers are innovative in what they do to make and to keep their farms profitable. It was interesting going through their nomination forms and seeing how they rose to the top to become this year’s Peanut Profitability Award winners.”

In addition to recognizing deserving growers, Peanut Profitability also aims to educate, says Lamb. “Early on with this program, we talked about how education needed to be a vital part of it. We want to give something back to the growers who can’t attend this conference. This year, we came up with the Top 10 Keys to Peanut Profitability, or the commonalities that have emerged among our growers during the past 13 years.”

Each class of Profitability Award winners continues to impress with their innovative techniques for achieving bottom-line profits, says Greg Frey, Farm Press publisher.