By Jeff Clark/Monroe Journal
ABERDEEN – According to Birdsong Peanuts Plant Manager Brian Atkins, the economic and agricultural future is looking bright for the Aberdeen processing plant.
“We held a crawfish boil last week and it was attended by about 115 people including many peanut farmers from Mississippi,” Atkins said. “They were already booking seeds for the next season.”
Atkins said there will be 13,000 acres to be planted with peanuts, which means good news for Birdsong.
“We plan to move about 18,000-20,000 tons this season – which is a really good year,” Atkins said. “A good peanut season will be very good for our community and the local economy.”
The peanut planting season, according to Atkins, begins April 20 and should conclude by May 25. The peanuts are then harvested in the fall.
“We should be harvesting the peanuts around September or October – hopefully October,” Atkins said. “Last season we were running behind because of all of the rain we had.”
Although drought can be a problem with other crops including corn and soybeans, Atkins said peanuts are almost perfect for planting.
“Peanuts are almost drought proof – they require far less rain than any other plant except for cotton,” he said. “After we process the peanuts, we will ship the majority of them to the Smuckers company.”
The Birdsong Process
Long before the peanuts are shipped to Smuckers and other national brands, Birdsong employee Ken Jones said a lengthy process must take place.
“First, the peanuts are delivered to our facility – all of our peanuts are grown in Mississippi,” Jones said. “Then we clean them and clean them again if we need to – peanuts sprout in the dirt. Next, the government comes in and inspects the peanuts – this is how the farmers get their money. The higher the grade or quality, the more money they will receive. Then, we ship them to other places where they are shelled or cooked.”