Delta Peanut is a 100% farmer-owned peanut processing company. It serves peanut farmers in Missouri, Arkansas and Northeast Louisiana.
Sixty farmers from the area came together to vertically integrate their peanut production, creating Delta Peanut.
Dedication to sustainability
Tommy Jumper, CEO and managing member of Delta Peanut, is passionate about growing peanuts because of their ability to process resources effectively. “Peanuts are unique. They utilize our precious resource, water, more efficiently than any other crop that we could grow over here,” he said. “So, we start out from a place of being responsible and sustainable.”
The commitment to efficiency continues when the peanut arrives at Delta Peanut to be processed; every piece is utilized.
First, the peanut shells are removed and used to make cattle feed or poultry bedding. Next, the peanuts are graded by size into jumbos, mediums, splits and number ones. Anything that is broken or too small is used to make bird feed. And, if a peanut is too dirty, it’s redirected to be used for peanut oil or peanut meal.
“You don't see any trash trucks coming out of the back of our plant,” Tommy said, “because every piece of that peanut - we're able to use; they’re all commercialized for some good use.”
Peanut farmers in the United States raise four different varieties: Valencia, Spanish, Runners and Virginia.
Delta Peanut is designed to process Runners. This particular variety makes their way into candy bars, peanut M&M's and peanut butter, among other products, that are brought to market by large, iconic brands.
Farm Credit support from all sides
Supporting farmer-owned cooperatives and businesses are at the heart of Farm Credit’s mission. And Delta Peanut offered a great opportunity for four different Farm Credit lenders to collaborate in support of farmers in their region, including Farm Credit Midsouth, AgHeritage Farm Credit Services, Farm Credit Southeast Missouri and Farm Credit of Western Arkansas.
local processing facilities like Delta Peanut help keep more money in the local economy and serve as an important stop between farmer and consumer.
Tommy said it best, “Farm Credit has been involved in this thing on both ends and we couldn't have done it without Farm Credit.”
An eye towards growth
In their first few seasons of operation, Delta Peanut anticipates processing a crop of 105,000 tons of peanuts. That’s equivalent to 210,000,000 pounds, roughly the same weight as 26,250 cars.
As they continue to establish their business and build relationships with farmers, they have planned room to expand; their processing facilities can grow another 20,000-25,000 tons over the course of their first four to five years in operation.
Understanding that they will have to hire and train a significant number of new employees, Tommy feels this is a healthy amount of growth to expect as the company gets up and running.
“We're making our way into the market,” Tommy said. “It feels like the right size for us today; we're 105,000 tons, but we're on our way to, and have a roadmap to, 185 or 190,000 tons.”