Peanut Production Enjoys Unique Position Among Carolina Row Crops

Name: Mike Belch

County/State: North Hampton County, North Carolina

Association: North Carolina Peanut Growers Association

Type of farming operation: Peanuts, Cotton, Soybeans 

Family: Wife, Cindy and Son, Brandon


We spoke with Mike about his current role as President of the North Carolina Peanut Growers Associaion and some of the challenges he and other growers face.

Belch feels an important role of the Peanut Association in North Carolina is to monitor issues with peanut production, then make recommendations to NC State researchers:

“We do instate promotion and fund research for peanuts with our checkoff dollars. We keep current with all legislative issues that pertain to agriculture in general and of course peanuts.”

Regarding sustainability and profitability, Belch feels that getting the most of every dollar that’s spent on the farm is one of the biggest challenges:

“I think going forward, sustainability seems to be a moving target and to be getting tougher to hit. Most of the general public thinks people are making piles of money because prices are high, but the people who price the inputs also price those much higher as well. So its tough to make a profit. Its also tough to stay abreast of rules and regulations we must follow. Our playing field is ever-changing and becoming extremely technical, with a lot of computerized technologies and things that we use to help us be more efficient. We want to make every dollar that we spend count, there is not a lot of room for error.”

When it comes to goals of the organization, Belch explains that they take a pro-active, team approach:

“We all work together and as issues arise we decide how to best handle it. We also keep track of all of the problems that peanut growers across the state are having so when it comes time for research projects, we can let researchers at NC State know what our current needs are and they come up with projects to try to help us with those problems. We then decide which of those we can fund with our dollars.”

Belch explains that peanuts are a unique commodity compared to other major row crops:

“We are a direct food product that can be consumed, it’s a little different than cotton or soybeans, so that makes us unique. And because its eaten as its grown, you can eat it straight out of the ground. It’s a product you have to be much more careful with to keep consumers happy.”


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