The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) invites farmers interested in peanut production to explore "Potential Markets for the Virginia Peanut," a free lunch meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007 at 10 a.m. at the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center on Holland Road in Suffolk.

The purpose of the meeting is to share with interested growers the results of two studies recently conducted by VDACS with assistance from Virginia Tech.

In one of the studies, VDACS Division of Marketing, through a Federal State Marketing Improvement Program grant, contracted with an agribusiness management consulting firm to assess the markets for all grades of Virginia-type peanuts, ascertain production and marketing barriers, determine opportunities for market expansion, offer strategic and policy recommendations for market development, and provide potential optimal marketing solutions for Virginia's peanut industry.

The company interviewed farmers, shellers, processes and industry manufacturers for the report.

The second study evaluated an organic peanut production system in Virginia. Funded by a VDACS Specialty Agriculture Research Grant administered by Agribusiness Development Services, this study was held at Quail Cove Farms in Northampton County. As part of the study, owner Bill Jardine grew test plots of organic peanuts.

Seating is limited. For your chance to hear the study results firsthand please call 1-757-569-1100 to register for the meeting, lunch, and informational handouts.