Story behind Peanut Growers Cooperative

Published 8:45 am Wednesday, April 6, 2011

by Dell Cotton

I will let my first column be one of an introductory nature, since our organization operates in somewhat obscurity on Campbell Avenue here in Franklin.

Peanut Growers Cooperative Marketing Association is a peanut marketing association, the purpose of which has changed over time.

In its earlier days, prior to 2002, PGCMA’s job was to administer portions of the peanut program along with two similar grower entities. One of these was located in Camilla, Ga., and one was in Gorman, Texas.

The federal peanut program authorized the three associations to administer the loan portion of the peanut program. That administrative, paperwork job was done for years for the benefit of U.S. Department of Agriculture and the growers in the Virginia-Carolina area.

Interestingly, PGCMA built the building from which it still operates. When it was built in the early 1960s, there was little on that side of Franklin other than St. Regis Paper Co. Imagine that.

PGCMA has branched, partly out of necessity, into other areas. There are still some paperwork functions associated with the structure of the peanut program, but this is much changed from what it used to be.

Assistance is provided to peanut growers in marketing their peanut crop, as has been done for years. In addition, raw peanuts are also sold directly from the farmer both on the Internet and locally from our office.

Finally, in 2003 this office became home to the Virginia Peanut Growers Association. When the former executive secretary Russell Schools retired, the consolidation of offices took place, which helped both organizations financially.

Since the late 1950s or so, this organization has been all about peanuts and continues to be. As I write follow-up articles, I will do my best to cover the overall aspect of peanuts, from their importance to our area to nutrition information and beyond.

DELL COTTON is director of the Virginia/North Carolina Peanut Growers Association. He can be reached at