Farmers in Mississippi are looking to make more money by planting more peanuts this year. That's according to ag experts at Mississippi State University. As MPB's Mark Rigsby reports, higher prices and more acres planted mean good news for the state's leading economic driver.
Mississippi State University Extension Service predicts peanuts planted could reach 50,000 acres this year. That's 10,000 acres more than 2016. Jason Sarver is the peanut expert at MSU. He says wholesale prices are $40 more per ton this year over last.
"The peanuts relative to any other market we have look favorable from an economics perspective. Then on top of that, our growers that have grown peanuts have found that rotating back to their cotton or corn after peanuts, they're growing better crops."
Unlike other crops, peanut farmers contract to sell their harvest to peanut buyers before the crop is planted in the spring. This limits the risk for the farmer. Mississippi farmers had $7.5 billion in sales last year. $27,000,000 was from peanuts.
"Probably the biggest economic engine in our state, so it really effects us all. We have a lot of people. Even if they're not farming, they are directly or indirectly involved in the farming business. It's important for all of us to keep our agricultural industry growing and keep it strong."
Scott Flowers has been growing peanuts since 2012. He says he'll plant 650 acres of peanuts on his farm in Coahoma County this year.
"Hopefully, we can pay our bills, and have a little left over, and get ready for next year, and keep going another year."
Sarver says this year's peanut crop will be in the ground by the end of the month.