Texas peanut farmers feel nationwide salmonella outbreak - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/10/09

Texas peanut farmers feel nationwide salmonella outbreak

Brownfield resident James Martin, his son, and grandson harvest nearly 5000 acres of peanuts a season and Martin says the actions of one company have been felt by peanut farmers in West Texas. "I started farming when I was a junior in high school and I'm 65-years-old so I've been farming a long time," says farmer James Martin.

He knows his peanuts and knows his industry is hurting right now. "I'm sure everybody is scratching their head about it right now. We were already in a dilemma with the financial crisis going on, then dry weather, but the salmonella outbreak, if sales go down on peanut products companies may not need as many as they normally would and that would be less acres planted and a lower price or both," says Martin. He says a lower price for his peanuts is simply not an option. "We can't grow them any cheaper then what we've been growing them at," he says.

Concerned, Martin says some farmers may not be able to plant anymore and the Texas Peanut Producers Board confirms his fears. "I think we could see potentially 30 to 35 percent less acres of peanuts then we saw last year and it does affect the economy around here," says Executive Director of Texas Peanut Producers Board Shelly Nutt.

Martin and other farmers stand by their crop and say their peanuts are not the problem. "We think this is a very unfortunate situation because when we produce our peanuts they are graded by government standards and tested for certain things that would harm their quality. It's unfortunate that one company has not handled them properly and caused all of this problem," says Martin.

The Texas Peanut Producers Board tells me that their industry is going to keep feeling the effects of the salmonella outbreak until public perception changes about peanut products.

FDA Peanut Butter Recalls
Click here for the latest from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the peanut butter/salmonella recall.
2/10/09
Possible salmonella at Plainview Peanut Plant
Traces of salmonella may be linked to the Peanut Corporation of America plant in Plainview. NewsChannel 11's Katie Bauer has the story.

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