A more recent accomplishment was winning approval to be allowed to use the American Heart Association’s coveted “Heart Check” logo on peanuts.

“There were a lot of hoops to jump through,” Powell says. “But The Peanut Institute won permission to use the Heart Check logo for roasted, salted peanuts, and we’ve worked with manufacturers on qualifying to use the logo and on carrying out the Heart Association’s required promotional programs.

“Malcolm Broome, executive director of the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association, and his staff put a lot of work into this, and the Mississippi association was the first grower group to qualify to use the Heart Check logo on its promotional peanut packages. First South Farm Credit has been actively supporting this program, and we appreciate all they have done.”

Year-to-date consumption, covering five months of the reporting period, shows peanut consumption up by 10 percent,” Powell says, “and we hope the year-ending number will be much higher.

“Fifty percent of the nation’s peanut production goes to peanut butter, and for the Southeast it’s much higher. We’ve seen a steady increase in peanut butter consumption, and consumption of all peanut products is now at an all-time high. We’re very excited about this.”

Even so, Powell says, competition from tree nuts — particularly the well-financed almond segment — is stiff, and since year 2000 peanuts have been losing ground.

“Even peanut consumption is at an all-time high, within the world of nuts almonds have made a lot of progress in market share. The Almond Board gets about $40 million a year from their checkoff assessment, compared to only about $8 million for the Peanut Board. We face major competition in the nut world, and to move the needle in the marketplace, it’s all about money. So, we’ve got to work harder and smarter.”