Jennifer Whittaker, Georgia Farm Bureau
Nine Metro Atlanta teachers now have a better understanding of how peanuts and peanut butter are produced after taking a crash course in peanuts courtesy of the Georgia Peanut Commission (GPC) and Georgia Farm Bureau. The two organizations sponsored them to attend the GPC’s 34th Annual Georgia Peanut Tour in September.
This is the first time teachers were invited on the tour in hopes they will incorporate what they learned about Georgia’s official state crop and agriculture into their class curriculum.
During the two-day tour, planned by the GPC and UGA Extension Peanut Team, the teachers, and about 200 other attendees, visited Greg Davis’ farm. At the Davis farm they saw peanuts being dug and experienced the smell of freshly dug peanuts. A stop at Brian Ponder's farm let the group see how farmers drive through their fields with a tractor and peanut picker to scoop up the dried dug peanut vines. The picker separates the peanuts from the vines.
Stops at UGA research farms introduced the group to work UGA researchers are doing to develop new peanut varieties that will resist disease and produce higher yields. Researchers also talked about studies they are working on to help farmers use less water in growing peanuts and smaller amounts of crop inputs, such as fertilizer and chemicals, by using precision ag technology.
The group also toured a peanut buying point where farmers take their harvested peanuts to be graded by Georgia Federal-State Inspection Service inspectors to ensure peanuts that go into our food supply are top quality and safe.
Other tour stops included the Georgia Department of Ag Seed Lab, where participants learned how peanuts that are grown to be used as seed for future crops are tested to ensure they are high quality. The teachers visited Kelley Manufacturing Co., where they learned how the company has been developing peanut harvest equipment since 1966 and innovating their equipment through the years to help farmers harvest their crop more efficiently.
The teachers were amazed with all the jobs that are part of growing, harvesting and processing the peanuts into products consumers enjoy every day. These teachers gained a lot of knowledge on the tour they will take back to their school and their school systems that will impact their students for years to come.
Georgia Farm Bureau Educational Programs Coordinator Lauren Goble may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 478-474-0679, ext. 5135. Contact your county Farm Bureau if you’d like to volunteer with its Ag in the Classroom Program.
GFB Educational Programs Coordinator Lauren Goble, far left, & Georgia Peanut Commission Project Coordinator for Research & Education Hannah Jones, center, left, visit with some of the teachers who took the annual Georgia Peanut Tour at the invitation of the two organizations. Teachers pictured are, from left: Mollie Guy, Taylor DeLay, Laura Ergle & Jason Parlor. Other participating teachers not pictured are: Jennifer Baker, Sarah Davie, Tonya Freeman, James Nelson & Erin Pringle. / Photo courtesy of GPC/Joy Crosby