For Georgia peanut farmers, sales to China a bonanza that may not last | Online Athens

6
Jan

For Georgia peanut farmers, sales to China a bonanza that may not last | Online Athens

OGLETHORPE — Another peanut harvest has come to an end, and the fields of southern Georgia are littered with gray vines, which will fertilize next year’s crop.

For farmers in southern Georgia, 2012 was a record-setting year; 2013 paled in comparison. As they talk about 2014 and how the markets might change, one thing always comes up: China’s massive potential market.

“We had a spectacular crop in 2012,” said David Chase, who’s been farming here for 20 years. “That has weighed on the market into 2013, and it might still be shelled into 2014.”

The United States exported its largest yield of peanuts in 2012, nearly 265,000 tons, valued at $470 million. According to peanut experts, that’s a crop and a half.

The record-setting harvest yielded an excess supply that would have sat in warehouses, but Georgia found a new trading partner: China. While China usually imports peanuts from India, a terrible drought in 2012 destroyed nearly all of that country’s crop.

Instead, the Chinese turned to the U.S., with shipment after shipment heading across the Pacific. On Dec. 28, 2012, for example, a ship that left the port in Savannah, Ga., carried $357,000 worth of peanuts, destined for the Port of Qingdao in China, according to records maintained by PIERS, an export and import tracking service. On Jan. 30, a shipment that contained $244,000 worth of “runner jumbo peanut” made its way east. Many others followed.

via For Georgia peanut farmers, sales to China a bonanza that may not last | Online Athens.

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