AgFax Peanut Review: Sunland Processing Plant Sold to Canadian Company; Acreage Up in 2014



    • Georgalos Peanut World reports that USDA’s forecast for peanut acreage is up 29% from last year at 1.38 million acres. The increase is attributed largely to reduced corn and soybean prices.
    • AgFax Editor Larry Stalcup attended the Oklahoma Peanut Expo and wrote a blog article with his takeaway information. The two key points were for peanut growers to do everything they can to fight resistant weeds and prevent weed escapes, making sure not to rely on one chemical and utilize multiple modes of action, and to be on top of disease management. “You can’t cure a diseased plant,” so good fungicide and seed selection programs are a must.


    • Stuart Elliott reports on The New York Times that the National Peanut Board has unveiled a new ad promotion campaign dubbed “The Perfectly Powerful Peanut,” focusing on peanut’s high protein content and other nutritional benefits. The ad campaign features illustrations of peanut plants paired with photographs of the industry’s target audience.
    • An Associated Press article on The New York Times reports that Sunland Inc. has been sold to a Canadian company, Golden Boy Foods Ltd. The Sunland Inc. processing plant in Portales, New Mexico, went to auction last week after the company filed for bankruptcy late last year. North Carolina based Hampton Farms won the initial round of bidding, but a last minute bid by Golden Boy Foods was permitted by the Court judge on grounds of the higher bid being better for the interests of Sunland’s creditors. Hampton Farms plans on appealing the decision as they had followed proper procedures during the initial bidding and feel the integrity of the initial ruling should be upheld.
    • Christina Calloway reports for the Portales News-Tribune that nearly a million jars of peanut butter from the Sunland Inc. plant were sent to the landfill after being rejected by Costco. The peanut butter, made with an estimated $2.8 million of Valencia peanuts, was ruled safe after several rounds of testing, but was deemed “unmarketable” by Costco due to leaking peanut oil. Rather than donate the peanut butter to food banks or allow it to be repackaged or sold to brokers who provide food for institutions, Costco insisted the product be destroyed. The decision has understandably caused a great deal of upset among New Mexico residents who feel the peanut butter could have been put to much better use.
    • David Allison reports for the Atlanta Business Chronicle that 7 years after a salmonella outbreak ConAgra Foods Inc. still has federal investigations hanging over its head. ConAgra, which produces the Peter Pan and Great Value peanut butter brands, issued a recall in 2007 after a number of food borne related illnesses were linked to one of its processing plants in Georgia. A formal investigation was launched in 2011, and the company spent $25 million over the last two years in connection with the investigations.

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