Lanier County, Georgia- July 18, 2012
Elvin Andrews, the Lanier County Extension Coordinator, says "good prices always attract farmers cause they're in the business to make money, if they don't make money they don't farm long."
Peanut planting is up 49% from last year, harvesting is up more than 50%. The reason: cotton.
Andrews goes on to say "in the spring of 2011 cotton prices were over a dollar a pound. So with a good yield in cotton that was the way farmers went. And those that had contracted made good money so they didn't plant as many acres of peanuts."
Peanut prices started out at the beginning of last year around $600 dollars per ton. By the end of the year they were around $1,000. That had many farmers rushing to plant peanuts.. but with so many being planted and harvested the price could go down in the coming months due to an oversupply.
Leaving many farmers ready to embrace the next big thing.. With the rest of the country facing a heavy drought one particular crop could emerge as the next big money maker.
Andrews says "we're seeing an increase in acreage in soybeans in Lanier County in 2012. I'd say our acres are probably going to triple from what they were last year."
According to the Georgia Peanut Commission the peanut industry generates around 50 thousand jobs in the state.