Rep. Wilson, South Carolina Delegation Introduce South Carolina Peanut Parity Act
WASHINGTON – Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02) introduced the South Carolina Peanut Parity Act in the House of Representatives today, critical legislation that would grant South Carolina representation on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Peanut Standards Board.
Congressman Mark Sanford (SC-01), Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03), Congressman Trey Gowdy (SC-04), Congressman James Clyburn (SC-06), and Congressman Tom Rice (SC-07) are original co-sponsors of the legislation.
Congressman Joe Wilson stated: “Since the Peanut Standards Board was created in 2002, South Carolina’s peanut farmers have been without a voice in the U.S. Department of Agriculture, despite being the nation’s fourth largest peanut-producing state. This legislation would rectify an imbalance on the Peanut Standards Board and support South Carolina peanut farmers. Peanuts are so appreciated in South Carolina that the state legislature designated the boiled peanut as the state’s official snack.”
Harry Ott, president of the South Carolina Farm Bureau stated: “This bill would give South Carolina peanut farmers a voice on the Standards Board that they are currently denied. We wholeheartedly support Congressman Wilson’s efforts to ensure equal representation for South Carolina peanut producers."
Congressman Tom Rice stated: "South Carolina produces eight percent of peanuts in America, making our state fourth in production, yet our farmers still don’t have a seat at the table to provide feedback and insight into the industry. It’s only fair to fix this disparity and ensure South Carolina peanut farmers are as equally represented as farmers from every other peanut-producing state.”
In the 2002 Farm Bill, the U.S. Department of Agriculture established the Peanut Standards Board, a board that advises the Secretary of Agriculture and Department on peanut quality and handling standards. The board consists of 18 members who represent three regions: the Southeast (Alabama, Florida, and Georgia), the Southwest (New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas), and Virginia/North Carolina. Each region is represented with three producer seats and three industry representative seats, and members serve staggered three year terms. By law, members of the Peanut Standards Board must be from a state in one of the three designated regions.
South Carolina farmers produce over eight percent of the nation’s peanuts. As a state, South Carolina is the fourth largest peanut producing state. The boiled peanut was designated by the state legislature as South Carolina’s official state snack in 2006.