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Peanuts are popular crop in Bladen County, nation

By: Erin Smith

Farmers drive our economy in so many ways, from acting as consumers to growing the food we eat, they are the backbone of our country. If you travel the roads in Bladen County, it is not uncommon to find a tractor, combine, or another piece of agricultural equipment working the fields throughout the county.

One crop which is popular with farmers in Bladen County is the peanut. The National Peanut Board says peanuts require less water than other crops and create very little waste. The board also identifies the peanut as the seventh most popular crop in the United States.

Dan Ward of Clarkton said, “They (peanuts) are a very important commodity for Bladen County.” He said there is a lot of incentive for local farmers to produce peanuts. The soil is perfect, there is good flavor to the peanuts grown in Bladen County and the peanut is good for crop rotation. He said the demand is strong with three peanut companies operating in the county– Sachs Peanuts in Clarkton, Peanut Processors in Dublin and Birdsong Peanuts in Bladenboro.

Ward said peanuts are a very popular crop in Bladen County. He said this year there are about 6,000 acres of peanuts under cultivation in Bladen County this year. Normally, Bladen’s farmers produce 4,500 acres of peanuts, said Ward.

Ward said peanuts are a heart healthy food and are high in folic acid and high in vitamin C. “It is the best plant based protein available,” said Ward.

Dan Ward said the peanut plant can also be plowed into the soil and used as fertilizer for the next year’s crop. He said peanuts leave nitrogen in the soil for the next crop. Ward explained ideally, one plants peanuts in a field this year, then the next two to three years they plant corn or cotton, then the fourth year one will plant peanuts again. This type of rotation ensures higher peanut yields, said Ward.

According to the National Peanut Board, peanuts help to fight hunger in communities of need, whether in the US or abroad. According to a release, the American peanut industry works hard to feed the hungry domestically and around the globe. Peanut-based products (like RUTF) support food security and economic growth in the developing world.

Joyce Walters said though her family does not grow peanuts, boiled peanuts have been selling well at the Bladenboro Farmers Market. You can also purchase peanuts at the Cape Fear Farmers Market in Elizabethtown.

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