Ukraine War could impact Ga. peanut sales

Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 10:10 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Along with other restrictions nationwide, the war in Ukraine is also causing problems here in South Georgia.

On Wednesday, Tyron Spearman, the National Peanut Buying Points Executive Director joined WALB’s Jim Wallace to talk about what’s being affected.

“The war in Ukraine is actually causing a lot of world food problems, and one of them is sunflower oil. And that could one day be associated back to Georgia peanuts. Can you explain how Ukraine is impacting world food supplies?” asked Wallace.

“Well, the war in Ukraine has just about destroyed their sunflower market, which was major. And they were shipping most of that oil into China. China can’t get it now. They are trying to buy some more peanuts for making peanut oil. And we’ve got a few. China has been our major shipping. Two years ago, they received about a third of the entire crop, to crush into peanut oil. So they got a chance to come back to us, but peanut prices have gone up as well. Just going to have to see if they will substitute U.S. peanuts for those they are missing out of Ukraine,” Spearman said.

“Well, if China buys cheaper peanuts from other sources around the world, obviously somewhere down the one Georgia peanuts are going to be wanted, hopefully,” said Wallace.

“That’s right, we always have some safe 2′s or safe 3′s that are ideal and lower-priced to go into peanut oil. And we hope they will come to the table and buy from here rather than going to India which is closer and the word is they are looking at India right now to replace some of those things they can not receive from Ukraine.”

“That’s one thing I know. You deal with and farmers have learned a lot more about here in Georgia that growing their peanuts, it is a world market these days for their products.”

“That’s exactly right. And all these costs that are going up are making it hard on the farm. All of the products are going to be selling for more. And we got a lot of farmers that have switched out of peanuts and moved to cotton this year, because of prices. So hopefully we will not have a cut back in acres and cause some of our products to be available,” Spearman said.

“Right now, are there a lot of peanuts in the warehouses around South Georgia?” Wallace asked.

“We still have a good supply in the warehouses. And shellers are operating around the clock to get those shelled. And so we can clean out the warehouses and have another new crop coming in about September. So we do have plenty in the warehouse right now according to the USDA. We’ve got a million tons scattered everywhere. But we are using them up very quickly.”

“So the Georgia peanut industry is moving along, despite all the inflammatory problems, and continues to grow?”

“Just have to tighten it up a whole lot more, and do the best you can. And don’t make as many trips over the field. And don’t use that gas as much. We got to dry this peanut crop as well, to get it down to ten percent to put it in the warehouse. So it’s going to be a lot of costs. And we have just going to have to manage it better.”

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