Texas peanut production second highest in US
Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 00:02
Responsible for close to a quarter of the nation’s peanut production, Texas has a large claim in the peanut industry.
According to the Texas Peanut Producers Board, at this time close to 165,000 acres across South Central and West Texas are dedicated to producing 700 million pounds of peanuts a year. Texas grows 24 percent of the nation’s peanuts, which accounts for over $56 million a year in exported goods for Texas agriculture. That’s enough peanuts to produce 7 billion peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Peanuts, which are not a nut at all, but a legume like lentils, peas and beans, got their start in Texas over 110 years ago. Beginning with just four or five carloads grown and harvested in East Texas in 1906, the industry has surpassed its meager beginnings and is now the second largest peanut producing state in the United States, following closely behind Georgia.
Due to droughts of previous years, the price-per-ton of peanuts has risen. However, as luck, or perhaps Mother Nature, would have it, peanut-perfect weather throughout all the growing states, including Texas, has produced large harvests for the 2012 harvest year and according to market reports, will flood the 2013 market and will likely cause the price of peanuts and by products like peanut butter to plummet.
This is good news for more than just mothers and low-income college students.
Peanut Butter, made by twice grinding roasted peanuts mixed with salt, natural sweeteners and stabilizers, is the most common byproduct of peanuts and surprisingly has handful of health benefits for its consumers.
It is high in protein – just two tablespoons can provide seven grams of protein – and is often suggested as an alternate form of protein for non-meat eaters or those who would need to increase their daily protein intake without increasing meat intake, such as athletes or pregnant or lactating women.
A two tablespoon serving of peanut butter also contains about two grams of dietary fiber. Fiber helps regulate the digestive system and can help you stay full between meals, making peanut butter a good choice for between meal snacks for anyone trying to lose weight.
And according to Harvard Medical School, peanut butter contains the same ratio of saturated and unsaturated fats as olive oil, one of the healthiest cooking oils known to man. The fats in peanut butter can actually lower your risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes and lower your risk for developing heart disease.
So have no shame if an old fashioned PB&J – preferably with whole wheat bread and fruit preserves – is all you can afford to eat from time to time! Not only are you doing your body a favor, but you are helping maintain Texas as a top competitor in the peanut industry!