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Georgia is the number one producer of peanuts in the United States, producing 1.64 billion pounds in 2008 alone. Peanuts rank as one of Georgia's top five cash crops. Georgia peanut farmers provide more than 45 percent of the U.S. peanut crop each year.

In 2007, Georgia had 2,762 peanut farms with 518,719 acres harvested according to the USDA Census of Agriculture.

The most famous Georgia peanut farmer probably is Jimmy Carter, who ran the family peanut farm and businesses before being elected Georgia's governor in 1970 and U.S. president in 1976. He still lives in Plains, Georgia, in the heart of the peanut belt, with his wife Rosalynn.

Peanuts are unusual plants because they flower above ground but fruit underground. The shelled peanut is the seed, which is planted in April or May and grows into an oval-leafed plant about 18 inches tall. Peanuts are harvested in September or October.

The peanut is actually not a nut at all. It's a legume. Perhaps that's why boiling peanuts (in the shell, in salt water), a cooking method typical of other beans, is such a popular thing to do with peanuts in the South. Americans eat over 1 million pounds of roasted peanuts every day.

About 50 percent of peanuts grown are used to make peanut butter.

One acre of peanuts will make 30,000 peanut butter sandwiches, while Americans eat enough peanut butter (2.4 million pounds) in a year to make more than 10 billion peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Peanut butter is convenient, affordable (about 12 cents per serving) and nutritious. Peanuts and peanut butter are high in protein and fiber and contain 13 essential vitamins and minerals. And they're naturally cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat.

Approximately one-half of one percent of the American population has an allergy to peanuts. The number of cases has increased significantly over the past couple of years. Researchers are working on new ways to lessen the severity of peanut allergies.

Peanut butter is often thought of as children's food, but adults actually eat more of it than children. It is found in 89 percent of American homes. While November is peanut butter lovers' month, March is national peanut month.

One of the most well known events in the state is in Sylvester, GA., when each October thousands travel to the Georgia Peanut Festival, with its parade, entertainment, arts, crafts and food.


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External sites

  • Georgia Peanut Commission
    Web site for commission, which conducts programs in the areas of peanut promotion, research and education.
  • National Peanut Board
    Site of the NPB, a farmer-funded national program, which includes information about new products, manufacturing, nutrition, as well as recipes, educational resources, and a section dedicated to growers.
  • The Peanut Institute
    Non-profit organization that supports nutrition research and develops educational programs to encourage healthful lifestyles that include peanuts and peanut products.