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USDA Wants YOU to Serve on a Board, Committee or Council

Posted by Dr. Melissa R. Bailey, AMS Fruit and Vegetable Program Associate Deputy Administrator in Food and Nutrition
Feb 21, 2017
Industry representative Katie Swinson enjoying her time in a peanut field in Duplin County, N.C.
Industry representative Katie Swinson enjoys her time in a peanut field in Duplin County, N.C., a major area for peanut production.

Why does someone choose to serve on a USDA board?  To find out, we asked several members of one important board that very question.

The Peanut Standards Board, which is overseen by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), was created by Congress to establish quality and handling standards for peanuts sold in the marketplace. Peanuts are an important agricultural commodity. According to the American Peanut Council, U.S. peanut farmers produce around 1.9 million tons of peanuts annually on approximately 1.44 million acres. In 2014 American peanut production generated an estimated $1.1 billion in revenue (NASS).   Peanut quality affects the entire industry and the Peanut Standards Board is comprised of a mix of producers and industry representatives covering the entire supply chain. This means peanut farmers, manufacturers, shellers, importers, and their representatives are all welcome to serve.

For Katie Swinson, an industry representative from North Carolina’s Golden Grove Peanut Co., serving on the board offered a chance to be more involved with the peanut industry as a whole. “In my position, I utilize the peanut standards on a daily basis and knew that I would be a valuable asset for the board,” said Swinson. “Serving on this board has solidified my belief that the entire peanut industry is united in the effort to support the growth of the industry. Any new member can look forward to a positive experience working with people from all over the country, voicing their concerns to raise awareness of issues the industry is facing.”

Shelly Nutt accepted the call to serve on the board when a spot opened up for a candidate from the southwest. As the executive director for the Texas Peanut Producers Board, she regularly represents peanut farmers, communicating the need for the state department of agriculture to address issues the industry is facing. This background came in handy when the board looked at changing the current peanut standards. “I had to learn the current standards and see how the industry would respond to the proposed changes,” said Nutt. “I had to make a whole bunch of calls to peanut shellers all over Texas. Serving on the board gives me a chance to communicate.”

The Peanut Standards Board is one of the many ways that AMS supports the agriculture industry. As the Aug. 24, 2015 deadline to apply for open positions on the Peanut Standards Board approaches, we encourage industry members to nominate themselves or other candidates to serve.

AMS is driven to recruit and hire new and diverse talent for our boards and also into our workforce. Many USDA boards and committees have open positions. Whether you want to serve on one of our advisory boards and councils, marketing order boards and committees, or our research and promotion boards, there are plenty of ways for you to support your industry.

Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition