“Americans want food products that are simple, convenient and easy,” says Bill Brown, J.M. Smucker Company as he addressed the crowd of more than 1,000 farmers and industry representatives during the 29th annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show held recently in Albany, Ga. He noted, “Price remains a powerful incentive to get consumers to try a new product, but taste is key for insuring repeat purchases.”

“The year 2004 was a remarkable one in the history of the JM Smucker Company,” Brown says. The JM Smucker Company completed their first full year of ownership of JIF peanut butter which contributed to a year of record sales and profits. Additionally, the company built a new facility in Scottsville, Ky., to meet the consumer demand for Smucker's Uncrustables. Brown is excited about the historic levels of peanut usage that are being sustained and he says the state of the peanut butter category remains healthy and strong.

In addition to Brown's keynote address, several awards were presented during the 29th annual farm show. The awards are as follows:

Distinguished Service Award — Stanley M. Fletcher, professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Georgia, was awarded the Georgia Peanut Distinguished Service Award for immeasurable devotion and service to agriculture and the peanut farmers of Georgia and the nation. Fletcher has had a very productive and significant career as a researcher and expert in the areas of peanut production economics and policy development relative to domestic and international marketing and trade as well as governmental policy relative to peanut farm programs through the United States Department of Agriculture. He was named the first director of the National Center for Peanut Competitiveness which was established by the United States Congress to promote U.S. produced peanuts as a commodity in the world market and to work toward improved competitiveness of the U.S. producer in the world marketplace.

“The leadership and service you have provided on behalf of Georgia and U.S. farmers have laid the economic and policy analysis foundation upon which our peanut industry rests,” says Armond Morris, chairman of the Georgia Peanut Commission. “The impact you have had on our industry is both profound and invaluable. In fact, the true impact of your efforts may never be fully appreciated or appropriately recognized.”

Research and Education Award — Joe W. Dorner, microbiologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, Ga., received the Georgia Peanut Research and Education Award for his research on the development and evaluation of strategies to prevent aflatoxin contamination. Those efforts resulted in three patents for technology related to biological control of aflatoxin contamination. That technology has been successfully transferred to the private sector, and Afla-Guard is the first commercial product available for reducing contamination of peanuts with aflatoxin. In May, 2004, Afla-Guard received Section 3 registration by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency as a biopesticide, and it was used commercially for the first time on the 2004 peanut crop in the Southeastern U. S.

Georgia Peanut Special Award — John H. Johnson, director of curatorial services for the Georgia Agrirama, was presented the Georgia Peanut Special Award for developing and maintaining a U. S. Peanut industry historical museum. Johnson has been a member of the Agrirama family since it's inception in 1974. He has held numerous positions ranging from initiating interpretation and education programs to spearheading the research and development of specific exhibits. His most recent accomplishment is the James L. Shepherds' Mobile Peanut Combine Exhibit presently on display at the Peanut Museum located at the Georgia Agrirama. Georgia Peanut Media Award - Phil Singer, sales representative of Turner Broadcasting, received the Georgia Peanut Media Award for the exceptional value of network coverage provided by Turner South. He is responsible for sales of the WTBS and Turner South networks in Georgia and throughout the state of Florida. In 2004, the Georgia Peanut Commission, Peanut Advisory Board and the National Peanut Board joined forces to air commercials and cooking show episodes on Turner South. Peanuts were promoted on the cooking show, Home Plate and commercials were aired July through December 2004. As an added bonus, peanuts were featured on “The Rick and Bubba Show” during Turner South's five-year anniversary celebration. This promotion shared the nutritious peanut message to more than 20 million consumers.

The one-day show offered farmers a full day to view the products and services of more than 60 exhibitors and a day of education.

Farmers were provided an update on the latest research findings in the University of Georgia Peanut Conference including information on peanut agronomics, diseases, insects and weeds as well as economic information.

At the close of the day, Glen Jones, peanut farmer from Ashburn, Ga., became the lucky winner of the $5,000 certificate towards the purchase of a peanut combine donated by AMADAS Industries. AMADAS Industries offers a four-row and six-row pull-type peanut combines and an eight-row self-propelled peanut combine.