High peanut prices have convinced many farmers to diversify their crops to take advantage of temporary market demands. Farmers outside of the standard zone of peanut growth, primarily Texas and Georgia, have begun planting peanut crops, hoping to take advantage of high prices.
The price increase has been caused by unusually poor weather in peanut producing regions. In particular, Texas and Georgia have been hit by massive droughts that have caused billions of dollars in lost profits. These droughts have also prevented many farmers from growing water intensive peanut crops, lowering supplies and increasing costs.
In 2011, peanut production in the United States dropped by nearly 15 percent, causing prices to rise to nearly $1,000 a ton.
The high prices that peanut crops can fetch, as well as the fact that they require less attention (particularly with regards to fertilizer, pesticides, and weed treatments) than traditional cash crops like corn, soybeans, and cotton, serve as important lures to farmers across the country.
Peanut production offers a quick financial boost to cash strapped farmers, as well as a way to diversify crop production and better protect future incomes. While many farmers do not see this as a permanent change, they are more than happy to take advantage of a temporary price boom.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer