The History Of The American Peanut Industry | Growth And Uses

Where Peanuts Grow in America

Peanuts grown in the U.S. are primarily grown in the south eastern region of the country. There are major peanut growing states ranging south and southwest as well. Thirteen states grow peanuts commercially and these states are: Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Florida, Virginia, Oklahoma, Missouri, North Carolina, Mississippi, South Carolina, Arkansas and New Mexico. Georgia grows by far the most peanuts in the U.S. Texas is second to Georgia and then Alabama isn’t far behind. Louisiana is a minor peanut production state for the U.S. Each state that grows peanuts takes great pride in their peanuts. This all American treat has been considered a patriotic snack for decades. Even finding a special place among the fans of the uniquely American sport, Baseball. as nothing but American for decades. The U.S. is also a top exporter of bulk raw peanuts to the world, bragging the highest quality and best taste.

The History Of The American Peanut Industry

The Start Of Peanut Domestication By Farming

Peanuts are originally from South America, namely Peru and around the eastern side of the Andes. Native to the Americas, peanuts date back a long way to 8,500 years ago. Their journey has been an interesting one. The peanut traveled north into Mexico and the West Indies where it was cultivated 

By the Spanish and Portugese and eventually ended up finding its way to the North American colonies. Peanuts began growing in more and more places and into the 1800’s transformed into a small cash crop. In the mid-late 1800’s one man would put the face of peanuts firmly on the planet.

George Washington Carver: The Man Behind Peanut Popularity

George Washinton Carver

George Washington Carver was the man credited with discovering that rotating cotton and peanut crops would ensure better peanut and cotton growing. His intention was to help the poor farmers of the south. Carver was born into slavery in Alabama. With much difficulty and hard work he climbed his way into a productive position at Booker T. Washinton’s Tuskegee Institue. He took a big pay cut from Iowa State University to live in two rooms and work hard in laboratories for the rest of his life. Altogether, he found workable solutions to poverty and hunger using peanuts.

George Washington Carver discovered a way to ensure that soil nitrogen levels regenerate. Following the hearty peanut growing season with alternate crops like cotton was his innovation that changed farming. This crop rotation method was innovative at the time in the late 1860’s. Due to George Washington Carver and his life’s work we have been able to help reduce hunger issues in war torn countries. In the history of the American peanut industry, Carver’s work inadvertently created the powerful peanut economy we have today in the U.S.

George Washington Carver helped to figure out how to make peanuts a cash crop in the United States by rotating the land with cotton crops. The peanuts were mostly grown in the Southeast where it grows commercially today. He is also famous for inventing the American favorite, peanut butter. Peanut butter was only one of his discoveries. In addition to this, there are 300 total innovations that he invented including industrial uses for peanuts. (You can read even more about Peanut Butter here.) Above all, George Washington Carver is credited as coming up with all of these uses on his own.

Current Uses In Fighting Hunger Worldwide

Peanut butter by far the most common way that consumers consume peanuts. In America, peanut butter accounts for more than half of the U.S. consumption methods than all of the other ways peanuts are consumed. Americans also eat peanuts in snacks, in candy, candy, oil or just freshly roasted from the shell. To many Americans, boiled peanuts and roasted peanuts are considered a delicacy with their distinct aroma and buttery crunchy taste.

Peanut butter alone has staved hunger for millions of people in need. There are organizations who hold hold supplies of American peanut butter in case of food shortages in places like Africa. This is due to the softness and being non-perishable and highly nutritious. It has been used to save countless African children from hunger. Peanut butter has become a staple for people of all ages and health conditions. Primarily, it is one of the most valuable food items that food banks and hunger relief organizations can receive as donation. Overall, it seems there is never enough.

Hungry baby eats peanut butter

The Peanut Industry In The U.S.

As of June 30, 2020 the U.S. peanut industry is healthy and well. As of that date, the Department of Agriculture reported 2.4 billion pounds of peanuts in storage in the U.S. This is a little less then last year, but, the industry is growing dispite the Corona Virus Pandemic. Subsequently, there has been a positive increase of two points in peanut stocks since last year.

Georgia is by far the biggest peanut producer in the America. With this in mind, they grow more than 2 billion pounds of peanuts a year.  Human hands don’t ever touch Georgia peanuts from growing to processing. Most Georgia peanuts end up in peanut butter. Particularly, there is a type of peanuts that is grown in Georgia that is perfect for making the delicious, creamy peanut butter.

Premium Peanut | The Georgia Based Peanut Growing And Processing Company

Premium Peanut who is responsible for building the mega 50 million dollar peanut shelling machine. Georgia farmers have built the largest and most innovative peanut shelling machine to date. They insure the highest quality of Georgia peanut butter. This innovative machine was built with the intention of helping to streamline Georgia’s important peanut processing industry. Assisted by a low-interest federal loan, the peanut company felt compelled to build the machine. This build was at the request of Georgia’s peanut farmer conglomerates.

The CEO of the company Premium Peanuts built the machine for the 200 shareholders who grow the Georgia peanuts for his company exclusively. The machine uses IT technology such as GPS and state of the art optical sorters. In short, they are used to see colors and shapes to pick out the best peanuts.

It takes 24 hours to shell peanuts. The peanuts fall through twirling chutes in a huge windy machine. Most peanut shelling machines including the one Premium Peanut uses are made by the Georgia based company Lewis M. Carter Machinery. Similarly, this inventive company also makes other sorters for beans and other kinds of nuts.

Article Written by Dana Witengier