Lower Southeast winner Owen Yoder said he was honored and humbled to be a part of the Peanut Profitability Awards.

“It’s a privilege. It’s something I enjoy doing. I can’t say that I’m a better farmer than anyone else here, but I can say that I enjoy what I do just about better than anyone else. The Lord has been good to me, and I truly enjoy what I do,” said Yoder.

Upper Southeast region winner Billy Bain gave much of the credit for his success to the Cooperative Extension Service at Virginia Tech University. “If I didn’t have my Extension agent, I don’t know where I’d be. Also, I’d like to thank all of the researchers who help us to stay on top of the changing technologies in growing our crops, especially peanuts. It’s good to see young people involved in this program – someone has got to step up to the plate. There are a lot of businesses and corporations that make money from agriculture, and we have to be there and make sure we get our share of the cake, he says.

Peanut farmers did a lot for themselves, says Bain, by joining together and forming the National Peanut Board.

John Guenther, accepting the Peanut Profitability Award for the Southwest region along with brothers Isaac and George, said it was a great and unexpected honor to be presented the award. The brothers received only about 3 inches of rain during the 2013 growing season but still produced 6,680 pounds of peanuts over 465 acres.

All of the winning growers credited the development of new varieties with their success in producing high yields and good quality.

“Plant breeders and the new varieties are a main reason that we’re where we are today, growing the crops that we grow,” said Yoder. “Bringing new varieties to the table will be the future of the peanut industry. It’s very important that breeders continue to bring disease resistance and high-yielding peanuts to the table.”

Bain said the development of the Bailey peanut variety had probably been the biggest breakthrough in his region because of its yield and disease resistance.

“The Bailey has really helped us to turn things around. But that’s not to discredit other varieties like Sugg and those that are currently in the pipeline that will be on the same level,” he said.

Bain said he had been fortunate over the years to have research conducted on his farm, either by companies or by the Cooperative Extension Service. “I also look at publications and attend field days. There’s nothing better than hands-on experience and learning from your own observations,” he said.

John Guenther said it’s vitally important that peanut producers continue to have improved varieties to plant. “When we were growing up we didn’t have varieties like Brantley and Gregory on the farm, but since we began growing them, our yields and quality have increased.”

Considering all of the information sources currently available to farmers, John said that he and his brothers still depend the most on their father for advice and guidance.

“We’ve been farming since 2007, but our dad has been farming since the early 1990s, and he’s our go-to guy for any information we need. If we’re not sure about something, we always ask him.”

Sponsors for this year’s Farm Press Peanut Profitability Award include Agri-AFC, AMVAC Chemical Corporation, Arysta LifeScience, BASF, DuPont Crop Protection, Golden Peanut Company, Helena Chemical Company, John Deere, the National Peanut Board, Southeast Farm Press, Delta Farm Press and Southwest Farm Press.