Published on 01/23/03

UGA prez gets peanut research, education award

The Georgia Peanut Commission awarded University of Georgia President Michael F. Adams their 2003 Peanut Research and Education Award during their annual farm show and conference Jan. 17 in Albany, Ga.

"We appreciate what President Adams and the University of Georgia have done to improve and sustain our industry," GPC Chairman Armond Morris told the 1,200 conference participants.

"Their research, extension and development of new and improved products, management strategies and cultivars have been critical to our peanut producers," Morris said. "The margin of profit now has become so thin that without these contributions, we'd be in trouble."

Gale Buchanan, dean and director of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, accepted the award for Adams.

"He recognizes the role agriculture plays in our university and the importance of agriculture in our state," said Buchanan, who was also the conference's keynote speaker.

Last year, Buchanan said, Adams hosted one of four national conferences formed to find and develop new funding opportunities for agricultural research, extension and education.

"Communication is key with our federal and state legislators," Buchanan said. "We must use the technology we've developed to become more efficient. We're not doing enough in agricultural research, and key issues affecting the peanut industry must have additional funding to advance the type of research that must go forward."

He highlighted key areas -- tomato spotted wilt virus, water, insect and disease control and rotation -- that need extensive research attention.

Last year didn't treat peanut farmers well. Untimely, severe weather hurt the crop during planting, harvest and in between.

But there could be help on the way, said U.S. Rep. Jim Marshall (D-Ga.). He said he felt Congress would approve more than $3 billion in disaster aid for U.S. farmers.

The senate approved the disaster aid as part of the 2003 appropriations bill Jan. 22.

Georgia farmers lost about $30 million worth of peanuts last year, according to CAES estimates.

The GPC conducts programs in peanut promotion, research and education. Its funding comes from a $2-per-ton assessment (this year, about $1.4 million) on all Georgia peanut farmers. Georgia produces almost 40 percent of the total U.S. peanut production.

Brad Haire is the former news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.