Worth Co.-- Tractors are rolling all across Southwest Georgia. Most Peanut farmers are putting seed in the ground now, as they start their 2003 crop.
Drought and low prices have cost peanut farmers for the last five years. But they are back in the fields, hoping for a bumper crop. Stacey Jones is a peanut farmer in Worth County, happy to be planting another crop. Jones said, "Fellow asked me the other day if farming is so tough, why don't you get out of it. I said three reasons, I'm too stupid, I'm too far in debt, and I love it too much."
Jones starting planting 600 acres of peanuts Monday, doing both strip till and conventional methods. Most Southwest Georgia farmers, they are rushing trying to get both cotton and peanuts growing. Last week's rains kept them out of the fields.
While the spring rains are a nuisance, it's a welcome one after five years of drought. Jones said "It's like the old saying in the South, you are never more than two weeks away from a drought. Right now things look good, we got good sub-soil moisture right now."
The cost of peanut seed is lower this year, about 55 cents a pound.
Worldwide now there is a reported shortage of peanuts after Argentina's crop disappointed. Jones thinks the new farm bill will help Georgia peanut growers, so he is happy to be planting another crop.
Jones said "When you are on your tractor you look across the field and you visualize what might happen at the end of the year. And that's what keeps you going."
The peanuts planted now will be ready to harvest the last week of September, or the first week in October.