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      Peanut Show draws 1,500+

      More than 1,600 producers were able to fine-tune their farming operations with information gained at the 35th Annual Georgia Peanut Farm Show on Jan. 20, 2011, at the Albany Civic Center in Albany, Ga. The show is sponsored by the Georgia Peanut Commission in cooperation with the University of Georgia.

      Peanut farming is big business in Georgia.

      Peanuts are our second largest grow crop in the state. Georgia is that largest peanut producing state. About 50 percent of the U.S. production is right here in the state, said Emory Murphy, director of the show.

      So it should be no surprise that there would an entire trade show dedicated to peanut farming. A metaphoric candy store for a peanut gallery of planters.

      I enjoy learning about the new machinery that they are coming, said Jimmy Colvin. There is quite a bit of exhibits out here. Learning new things on chemicals and fertilizer and different seed rate they are using this year.

      And the peanut show isn't just for planters. It also gives companies like the Ubly Peanut Blade a chance to show off their products.

      The blade actually goes under the ground to cut the tempera and it's the first process in inverting the peanut, said Scott Misco Our product built in the U.S. is much superior product, it gets their peanuts out of the ground so they can actually get the money out of them.

      But it's all a matter of whether business keeps boomin' so they can buy those products.

      It's kind of ify-ify right now. Peanuts are kind of down but they are on the rise. So we don't know where it's going to stop at. Hopefully it will keep going up, said Colvin.

      The Georgia Peanut Commission presented the Outstanding Georgia Young Peanut Farmer Award during the show. The award is presented to one Georgia peanut farmer based upon the applicant's overall farm operation; environmental and stewardship practices; and leadership and community service activities. The 2010 winner is Greg Mims of Donalsonville, Ga.

      Mims farms in a partnership with his dad and brother. The farming operation consists of 4,000 acres of crops including peanuts, corn, cotton, soybeans, wheat and snap beans. He also raises cattle.

      It's a good show. They have all the major industries out here represented with their equipment and it's a good place to come and learn about what equipment they have to offer, said Mims.

      In addition to farming, the winner is a leader and avid agricultural supporter in the Seminole County community. He is a member of the Seminole County Young Farmers, Seminole County FFA Alumni, County supervisor for the Flint River Soil and Water Conservation Commission and volunteers with Relay for Life. He is also a graduate the Peanut Leadership Academy and a Georgia delegate for the National Cotton Council and a state officer with the Georgia Young Farmers Association.

      Many people attending today's peanut show also seemed to be in a very giving mood.

      Two Red Cross blood donation centers were set up outside the show.

      Officials say many people in the South need blood and getting large crowds to donate helps bring in many pints of blood.

      We need about 1,300 pints of blood per day to meet the needs of our patients here in the southern region, said Rebecca Barnes of the American Red Cross.

      The Red Cross says they received more than 50 pints of blood at their mobile stations Thursday.