Peanuts are the cornerstone crop of multigenerational farmers in the rural south, supporting land stewardship and the economy.

The Cornerstone of the Rural American South

“The Peanut Belt”

In the rural American South — the Peanut Belt — peanuts are more than just a crop the farmers grow.

They’re an economic and social keystone.

Most peanuts are planted and harvested by peanut-farming families on small, multigenerational farms. Farmers work with their local agriculture businesses to sell and distribute their harvests, maintain their implements and invest in their land. The family farmers can also handle all the planting and harvesting without seasonal labor, which keeps the economic benefits close to home.

A History Rooted in Family

The U.S. peanut crop has an annual value of more than $1 billion

United States Department of Agriculture

How We Got Here

Peanuts: A Proven Solution

After studying the infertile farmland plaguing the American South around the turn of the last century, George Washington Carver realized that the soil was completely depleted of valuable minerals from the unbroken annual cotton crops. He surmised that crop rotation with a nitrogen fixing crop could restore the land. Peanuts, as a legume, were both easy to grow and naturally replenished the soil’s nitrogen levels, which had been drained by cotton plants.

Dr. Carver later discovered more than 300 uses for peanuts. The agricultural and economic benefits of peanuts gave the South a much-needed boost. Some historians even credit Dr. Carver with saving the South.

Efforts Worldwide

Laying Community Cornerstones Overseas

The National Peanut Board partners with many organizations to fund overseas research and philanthropic efforts.

Currently, leaders in the peanut industry are involved in projects with local farmers in many countries, including Haiti and Ghana, to help advance their planting and harvesting techniques, increase crop yields and decrease spoilage and contamination. The increased productivity provides peanuts for both famine relief and the local markets, strengthening the health and economies of local communities.

Peanuts also directly support women’s empowerment overseas. For example, more than 40 percent of the agricultural labor force in Ghana is female. The increases in peanut yields allow them to earn more income and provide more food for their communities.

Gender and Land Rights Database – Ghana