peanuts

peanut plant
Jay Hare / Dothan Eagle

Local farmers in southeast Alabama have opened a peanut-buying station as another way to peddle the area’s cash crop.

The Dothan Eagle reports the new station, the Farmer’s First Peanut Company, opened late last week in Geneva County. The $2 million facility was built by a group of local farmers looking for a locally-controlled peanut buying station. The facility will sell the crop to Georgia-based Birdsong Peanuts.

Farmers in Alabama's peanut belt are hopeful about their upcoming harvest.

Larry Wells of the Wiregrass Research and Extension Center says rainfall this year has been just what the crop needs: Not too dry and not too wet. That allows farmers more time to work in their fields to maintain the peanut plants.

Wells tells the Dothan Eagle that the crucial months for rain will still be August and September. He says receiving about 1 inch of rain a week will keep crops on the right path for harvest.

Alabama's unemployment rate remains unchanged from a month before.

The Alabama Department of Labor announced the jobless rate for June on Friday.

The number is the same as May at six percent.  It represents 130,439 unemployed people in Alabama. The state says June employment actually rose by almost 34,000 people, but the gain wasn't enough to lower the unemployment number.

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Cotton and peanut farmers in Alabama's Wiregrass region are hoping for rain to boost their yields.

Agronomist Brandon Dillard told The Dothan Eagle that farmers have already lost some of their crop to dry conditions. He said more losses are possible unless there is more rain.

Federal meteorologists have classified the Wiregrass as "abnormally dry." Part of Henry County is considered in a moderate drought.

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Alabama farmers experienced a mixed bag of results in 2012.

The Alabama Farmers Federation says federal statistics show the state's corn production increased by 51 percent in 2013, with farmers harvesting an average of 148 bushels an acre.

Soybean production increased 21 percent, and Alabama growers harvesting nearly 100,000 more acres than 2012.

Things weren't as good for cotton and peanut crops, however.

Cotton yields dropped 26 percent while peanut yields declined 44 percent.