Peanut production follows fine line between supply & demand - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Peanut production follows fine line between supply & demand

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Peanut field Peanut field
Farmer Tim Burch Farmer Tim Burch
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NEWTON, GA (WALB) -

Georgia's planted area of peanuts has increased 37 percent since 2013.

Georgia peanut farmers have finished planting 2014's crop, and the final numbers nationwide show the number of acres planted up 23 percent from the year before, when farmers planted the fewest amount of peanuts since before the Great Depression.

"It's exactly a free market. Supply and demand," said Farmer Tim Burch. "If we overproduce, the price goes down. But if we under-produce, the price goes up."

2014 could be an over-producing one. According to the National Agriculture Statistics Services, almost 1.3 million acres were planted in 2010.

High costs for farmers drove the crop down to 1.1 million acres in 2011, and then the farmers rebounded with a huge 2012 crop all the way up to 1.6 million acres.

For 2013, only 1.1 million acres were planted. Burch and other farmers say their sales may depend on foreign markets.

"If the export market is in need of our crop, they could take up our surplus without any problem," said Burch.

Even with all the peanuts planted in the United States, farmers don't always reap what they sow.

"Typically, when we have weather conditions in the US, they're isolated to certain regions. But, if it hit here in the Southeast it would have a big impact on supply this year," Burch explained.

As 2014's first tropical storm approaches Florida, farmers in south Georgia will be keeping an eye on storm season.

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