As Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday, farmers in the Southeast were still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Florence just weeks ago.
The newest member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Luther Strange of Alabama, is also the first to face the voters. The outcome of today's runoff election between Strange, cast as the establishment candidate, and Roy Moore, the Bible-quoting, conservative outsider, for the Republican nomination for the Senate could influence the course of the 2018 farm bill.
U.S. farmers are growing peanuts faster than the nation, or the world, can consume them, say USDA economists, who estimate the peanut supply will be a record 9.5 billion pounds following this year's harvest. Thanks to rising demand, led by China and Vietnam, exports are forecast for a record 1.5 billion pounds — one-fourth of this year's crop — but the U.S. peanut surplus could continue to grow.
Foodmakers pulled cookies, energy bars and pretzels from grocery shelves in a food recall prompted by the discovery of peanut residue in Grain Craft flour, the largest independent wheat miller in the U.S.
"The United States has always been a major player in global peanut butter trade and continues to be the world's largest exporter," says USDA.
With a 19-percent spurt in production, peanut growers are harvesting the second-largest crop ever and "threatening to hand American taxpayers a near $2 billion bailout bill over the next three years and leaving the government with a big chunk of the crop on its books," reports Reuters.
A federal judge sentenced Stewart Parnell, owner of the now-defunct Peanut Corp. of America, to 28 years in prison in connection with a salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and sickened hundreds, said the Associated Press.
A new peanut variety, developed by the USDA and Oklahoma State U, offers longer shelf life and increased disease resistance compared to other varieties, and packs "high amounts of a heart-healthy fatty acid called oleic acid," says the American Society of Agronomy.
The U.S. Probation Office, in a pre-sentencing report, recommended life in prison for Stewart Parnell, the former chief executive of Peanut Corporation of America, says Food Safety News.
A federal court jury convicted Stewart Parnell, former owner of Peanut Corp of America, of conspiracy, fraud and other charges 'in a groundbreaking case stemming from a salmonella outbreak," said CNN. "The guilty verdict marks the first federal felony conviction for a company executive in a food safety case." Parnell and his brother, Michael, a food broker, were accused of shipping salmonella-infected products. Michael Parnell also was found guilty on multiple counts, said CNN. The plant quality control manager was convicted of obstruction of justice.