Devoted to peanuts

Oklahoma peanut grower Joe D. White raises other crops, but he’s passionate about peanuts.

“I wish more people would plant peanuts in Oklahoma,” the Tillman County producer says. “It’s the most dependable crop I raise. I’ve been raising peanuts for 25 years, and have only missed one crop in all those years.”

In fact, that missed crop was due to repeated torrential rains one fall that kept it from being harvested.

Key Points

Diversified Oklahoma producer is passionate about growing peanuts.

It’s Joe D. White’s most dependable crop, harvesting it all but one year out of 25.

Even with diverse responsibilities, the White family remains close-knit.


“We had them dug, but it rained and rained, and we couldn’t pick them up,” White recalls.

In a good year, White will make 5,000 pounds of peanuts per acre, or 5,500 pounds in an exceptional year. With highs and lows, his overall average yield is 4,400 pounds.

White also grows cotton, corn and wheat in the farm country around Frederick and Davidson, which stretches all the way to the Red River. The White operation personifies diversity and, most certainly, a close-knit family.

White is chairman of the board of the Oklahoma Peanut Commission. His wife, Gayle, serves on the National Peanut Board. They have three grown children. Older daughter, Jessica, is a radiology technician, while her husband, Justin Lewis, is a commodity broker with KIS Futures Inc. in Oklahoma City.

Younger daughter, Whitney, already is part of the family business, running a registered herd of Angus cattle with her father. She also works with sesame for Sesaco Corp. Son Austin is a sophomore at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, majoring in agriculture. It certainly would be OK with his parents if Austin eventually returns to farm.

White’s mother, Frances, is 90 and still active in the day-to-day operations.

“I’m truly blessed with our family,” says White.

11113801CVR7.tif

HE LIKES VIRGINIA NUTS: Joe D. White raises almost all Virginia, or so-called “ballpark,” peanuts in Tillman County, Okla. Despite historic drought and record heat — and many weeks of merciless wind — White somehow came through with a decent 2011 crop this fall after a season using pivot irrigation.

This article published in the November, 2011 edition of THE FARMER-STOCKMAN.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.