What is in this article?:
- Fungicides, rotation and diversity keep peanut disease in check
- Ideal climate for peanuts
- Managing disease long term
- Agritourism and the community
For peanut producer Steve Seward, crop rotation, diversity and a strong fungicide program help keep disease in check and yields consistently high.
STEVE SEWARD farms a diverse mix of crops and cattle about 25 miles north of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Agritourism and the community
Seward Farms is the only full-time farm left in Jackson County, but it’s a popular one due to a successful agritourism venture, run by Steve’s wife, Susan, and his sister, Susie Kelley.
Seward Farms draws visitors young and old from Biloxi, Miss., Mobile, Ala., Hattiesburg, Miss., Gulfport, Miss., and Pensacola, Fla. Attractions include various southern crops to touch and feel, pig and duck races, a popular corn maze, corn cob cannons, a pony carousel and plenty of opportunities to interact with goats, sheep, cows and chickens.
The festivities kick off in the fall and last about 10 weeks. “It started out on the educational side, with educational field trips with area schools,” Seward said. “We’re also open to the general public on the weekends.”
Visitors can touch a bale of cotton and see all its various end uses. Other displays allow children to follow the movement of peanuts and potatoes from the farm to the factory.
The Sewards believe farming successfully along the coast is just as much about community involvement as it is managing the farm’s production, which is why the farm is very involved with local schools. “We’re trying to teach the younger children where their food comes from,” Seward said. “If you teach children something today, they will still remember it when they’re in their 20s.”