This year South Carolina peanut farmers planted a record 105,000 acres of peanuts, according to reports from the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.
Ten years ago that number was just 10,000 acres, so, on average, the state's farmers have increased acreage by that much each year since then for over a decade. This year's peanut crop is yielding nearly two tons to the acre.
The increase is keeping inspectors and crews busy at the nine drying and buying stations across the Palmetto State. SCDA points out it hired 69 peanut inspectors to help with this season's grading process. Each part-time employee is trained to grade the peanuts for sale, according to the USDA grade standards. South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers recently visited the Carolina Peanuts buying station in Cameron. During peak times at that station, crews conduct 40 to 65 peanut samples for grading per day.
"The work done at this buying station and others show the emergence of peanuts in South Carolina farming," says Weathers. "The crop has real potential for further expansion of acres planted and that could lead to an even bigger economic contribution from the peanut industry,".
An additional peanut buying station is located near Cameron. Other stations are located in Fairfax, Bowman, Kingstree, Hemingway, Dalzell and two in the Mullins area. There are currently 420 peanut farmers across 14 South Carolina Counties. South Carolina ranks fifth in the nation in peanut production.
According to the USDA the peanut prices received by farmers for all farmer stock peanuts averaged 32.4 cents per pound for the week ending Oct. 27, down 2.0 cents from the previous week. The average price received for runners was 0.308 cents per pound, 0.353 cents for Spanish and 0.324 per pound for Virginia type peanuts.
Marketings of all farmer stock peanuts for the week totaled 111 million pounds, down 141 million pounds from the previous week.