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Also, peanuts are not traded “on the board” and do not have a func- tional daily market of- fering. In order to reduce market risks, most pro- ducers accept an “option contract” from a seller before planting. They lock into an agreed-upon price somewhere above the peanut loan value of $355 per ton. This way, the seller knows the cost of acquiring the crop, and the producer knows his potential cash receipts in advance.

“It’s one of the most expensive crops to grow and manage,” Kubicek said. “But there’s a great opportunity for profi t in the current offerings that are being made. That’s why you see a lot of inter- est in the crop.”

Like any product in the agricultural indus- try, growing peanuts is a risky business because they are harvested in October when there is potential for freezing weather. However, that has not discouraged any of Oklahoma’s peanut producers, including John Clay of Carnegie. Clay, a Caddo Electric Co-op member, farms in Oklahoma’s highest- producing peanut county of Caddo, where he and his son have contracted to grow about 150 acres this year.

“The image of peanuts has changed in the pub- lic eye, and consumption is growing,” Clay said. “As a producer, I feel good about growing pea- nuts because it’s a cheap source of protein and they’re good for you.” According to Kubicek at the peanut commis-


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sion, the increased usage of peanuts in the Ameri- can diet is driving the current market and cre- ating an opportunity for Oklahoma farmers. He said Oklahoma peanuts

are some of the highest- quality grown in the country, and their high- oleic content is exactly what health “nuts” are looking for.

“Snack consumption is

up 38 percent, candy is up 17 percent, and peanut butter is up 3 or 4 per- cent,” he said. “Peanuts are proven to reduce the risk of heart disease and many types of cancers, so

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cans love peanuts. While Oklahoma’s group of peanut farmers may be small, they grow a quality product that still meets the trends of today’s mar- ket. OL



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