Proud to be a Farmer: George Jeffcoat Farms and Wiregrass Peanuts
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Dothan is known as the Peanut Capital of the World, with the area producing thousands of tons of legumes each year. We wouldn’t have that title, though, without the help of those who tend to the crops each year.
George Jeffcoat is a fifth generation farmer, growing a variety of crops and livestock for more than five decades.
“Well, I grew up on a farm,” said Jeffcoat. “I’m still living on the farm. When I was growing up, we had poultry and beef cattle. We also had the peanuts and cotton. And the cotton left this area for several years, maybe in the 60s.”
The boll weevil impacted farmers’ yields for 80 years, but thanks to an eradication program, by 1995 no economic losses to the boll weevil were recorded in Alabama. It was a blessing in disguise for George Jeffcoat Farms.
“Cotton is a good rotation for peanuts,” explained Jeffcoat. “That’s the main reason I grow the cotton. It’s a hard crop to grow, but you need a rotation crop for peanuts.”
George grows and harvests 1700 acres of peanuts each year. However, the weather doesn’t always cooperate.
“We haven’t had any rain in about a month. The peanuts, a couple of weeks ago, started not growing at all,” said Jeffcoat. “And those cool nights and cool mornings, the peanuts are not materializing like they should. So, we’re not getting the grades that we should.”
This year, George Jeffcoat Farms’ five employees will harvest 3000 to 3500 tons of peanuts.
“If I didn’t have the help, I’d have to quit farming. These guys, I can tell them to go to the field, and sometimes I don’t even need to go with them,” said Jeffcoat.
Peanut farming is a month’s long process, from plant to harvest. But George believes the hard work is worth the reward.
“Well, it’s really created a lot of jobs, and it’s a good crop for us to grow in this sandy soil,” said Jeffcoat. “Most of our peanuts mostly go to peanut butter and snack food.”
George Jeffcoat farms also provides the peanuts you find in barrels around the fairgrounds during the National Peanut Festival.
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