Alabama loves peanuts. It has for a long time. Alabama soil, especially in the Wiregrass region, is just right for growing.
And Alabama’s farmers make it possible.
In recognition of National Peanut Day, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville took the opportunity to highlight what he’s working on in Washington through his role as Alabama’s voice on the Senate Agriculture Committee.
As Congress prepares to pass the next five-year Farm Bill, today, Tuberville (R-Auburn) introduced the Farmers’ Market Expansion Act. This would make pecans and other tree nuts eligible for the USDA’s Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program.
“I just spent the month of August with Alabama’s farmers to get ready to work on the next Farm Bill,” Tuberville said. “After listening to Alabama farmers all across our state, I’m introducing legislation to expand their access to customers all across America.
“My bill would help low-income seniors afford to make pecans part of a well-balanced diet. This bill would be a win for our seniors, our farmers, and a big win for Alabama.”
Celebrating this #NationalPeanutDay 🥜 with some boiled peanuts from Wiggins Farm in Andalusia, Alabama.
Thank you to all our state’s peanut farmers. Their hard work and dedication keep our state at the forefront of national peanut production. pic.twitter.com/ZIJ703xuSV
— Coach Tommy Tuberville (@SenTuberville) September 13, 2023
Organizations across Alabama as well as the nation have endorsed the bill.
“Alabama is pecan proud,” Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries Commissioner Rick Pate said. “Adding pecans to the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program will allow our seniors to enjoy fresh Alabama-grown pecans and support our farmers.”
The Alabama Pecan Growers Association also voiced their support: “Pecans were named, in 1982, the official state nut. Since pecans are the healthiest tree nut you can eat, adding pecans to the senior nutrition program would be a win for the seniors and the local growers.”
In 2022, the state’s pecan growers harvested approximately 3 million pounds of pecans across 9,000 acres. The 2017 Census of Agriculture reported that Alabama boasted over 837 producers who managed 8,840 acres of pecan-bearing trees.
The nutrition program provides fresh, nutritious, locally-grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, and honey to eligible low-income seniors. The recipients must be 60 years of age or older and have a household income of no more than 185% of the federal poverty level.
Eligible seniors can exchange coupons for program products at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and community-supported agriculture programs.
Grayson Everett is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @Grayson270