Usually, whenever one region of the U.S. Peanut Belt experiences a good crop year, another one suffers a weather calamity, but that wasn’t the case in 2012.

“There wasn’t a weak spot in the entire country, with west Texas and the Carolinas producing bumper crops along with the lower Southeast,” says Marshall Lamb, research director for the National Peanut Research Laboratory and advisor for the Farm Press Peanut Profitability Awards.

“Considering that we’ll produce about 3.2 million tons of peanuts this year, I’d say it has been a pretty good year. Followed by two years of drought, we had outstanding crop conditions for 2012 that allowed the entire peanut industry to produce higher yields and higher quality than we’ve seen in the past,” says Lamb.

Many in the industry were wondering what growers could do with improved peanut varieties in a perfect year, and they may have found out in 2012, he says.

However, the resulting over-production will dampen prices going into 2012, says Lamb.

“Growers who have not already contracted will have to put their peanuts into loan and wait and see. We will have to cut acreage significantly in 2013 to get supply and demand back in balance.”

Considering this past year’s production, there should be no shortage of nominations for the 2013 Farm Press Peanut Profitability Awards, says Lamb.

“A tremendous number of growers had near-record or record-high peanut yields in 2012. The difference this year in determining winners might be in how a crop was marketed, and that’s something growers would had to have taken care of early on, when contracts were still being offered,” he says.

In the previous two years, with severe drought conditions, growers struggled to keep irrigating to make a good crop, says Lamb.

“When we have a year like 2012, farmers who had managed their crops in extreme conditions are able to take it to the next level, and we saw that over and over this past season. It’s never easy to make a crop, but years like 2012 make it possible to reach your full potential.”

Growers can learn from an ideal year just as they can from an extreme year, says Lamb, and that makes the educational component of Peanut Profitability more important than ever.

(For additional information on the Peanut Profitability Awards program and a list of former winners, click here).

Lamb, who was instrumental in developing the criteria for the awards program, has been advisor since the program’s inception. He says it’s no easy feat for growers to be nominated for and then to win the award.

“Peanut Profitability has set a standard of excellence during its existence, and while it has never been an easy honor to earn, I expect another fine group of nominees in 2013.