Peanut acreage in South Carolina rose to more than 100,000 acres last year and interest among growers remains high.

However, demand for peanuts is at a historic low, and how to balance growth and economic realities will no doubt be a hot topic at the South Carolina state peanut meeting, which is set for Jan. 31 at the Santee Convention Center in Santee. S.C.

The annual meeting started about a decade ago, and at that time consisted of a handful of growers and then Clemson Peanut Specialist Jay Chapin. As the industry has grown from a few thousand acres to more than 100,000 acres, the annual meeting has grown to several hundred growers and a large exhibition hall of peanut industry vendors.

The growth in the meeting in recent years forced a change of venue, which up until last year was the First Baptist Church Family Life Center in Orangeburg, S.C.  Continued growth has forced another change of venue, and this year the meeting will be held for the first time at the Santee Convention Center in Santee, S.C.

This year’s meeting begins with registration at 9:00 a.m. and the program begins at 9:40 a.m.

Dealing with over-supply and short demand will no doubt be the topic of the day.

Fortunately, two of the peanut industry’s top marketing gurus, Dell Cotton and Tyron Spearman will be on the program to offer their evaluation of what growers will face in terms of contracts and prices for their peanuts.

Tim Brenneman, long-time University of Georgia plant pathologist and peanut disease specialist will provide some timely information on detecting and managing a number of diseases that are an annual threat to peanut production in the Southeast.

Scott Monfort, who took over peanut specialist duties when Jay Chapin retired from Clemson University, will coordinate an over-view of Clemson’s peanut research program results. Monfort, along with Chapin, and long-time research associate James Thomas will provide results of a number of on-going peanut projects with growers and at the Edisto and PeeDee agriculture and research centers.

During the meeting, growers will get a chance to meet Jose Payero, who is the new irrigation specialist at the Edisto State. He will give an update on irrigation scheduling and management during a sponsored lunch at the meeting.

Despite the concern by growers about over-supply and reduced prices for peanuts in 2013, Monfort says he expects to have another large crowd at the annual meeting.

“I think the change of venue will give us more room, and will provide a better setting for growers and vendors to meet and talk about peanut production,” Monfort says.

rroberson@farmpress.com