Farmers struggle to grow peanuts - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Farmers struggle to grow peanuts

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Fruits and vegetables aren't the only things having trouble staying alive in this drought, peanuts are having a hard time as well.

"Well the first thing I do before I go to bed is pray. That continues mostly throughout the day. Praying for rain and good season throughout the year," said farmer Wes Shannon.

Shannon says it's a blessing that his field is doing as well as it is despite inclement weather because he has seen fields in terrible conditions including his father's.

"My daddy is 76 years old and this is the first time I could remember he has not been able to plant the peanuts on his farm because it's too dry. He received an inch of rain a week ago to date," said Shannon.

2011 has proven to be a difficult year for peanut farmers. In fact this is the lowest number of acres planted in 3 decades, since 1982.

Georgia Peanut Commission Executive Director Don Koehler says another reason for the shortage in peanut planting is due to greater demand of a more desirable crop, cotton.

"The cotton market was a lot better than the peanut market at planting time, so farmers looked at it and said I have to make a business decision. They would have liked to plant peanuts, but peanuts were priced out of the market," said Koehler.

Shannon wants the market and weather to return to normal conditions so he can enjoy the thing he loves the most… growing peanuts.

Georgia farmers planted about 480,000 acres of peanuts this year.  The lowest amount on record was 475,000 acres.

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