Published: October 2, 2019

Category: Organic News, The Organic & Non-GMO Report Newsletter

After the non-profit Georgia Organics launched around 2013, calls started coming in weekly from U.S. peanut roasters eager to source organic peanuts.

“It wasn’t just that they wanted organic peanuts,” said Perri Campis, a member of the organization’s Farmer Services program. “They specifically asked for organic peanuts from Georgia. I hated having to tell them to look to Texas.”

The Georgia Organic Peanut Association (GOPA) launched this June, a farmer-owned cooperative helping Southern Georgia peanut growers market their certified organic product. Some farmers were already growing exclusively organic, and others only a small percentage; the association has already attracted some younger, beginning farmers. With organic food sales hitting nearly $47.9 billion in 2018, and with 82 % of Georgia households buying organic products, the pull is obvious.

Scientists from the University of Georgia and former USDA weed experts have helped by providing improved seed genetics to boost productivity, and technical solutions to combat weeds. Weeds are rampant in Georgia, but strong cultivars and timely cultivation—as well as improved plant-based pesticides and fungicides—have made organic peanut production a profitable venture.

GOPA president Ronny Shingler describes this “historical moment for Georgia agriculture”—to create a market niche for an honored state treasure.

Source: Valdosta Today

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