Anthony Jean-Claude, who has experience in peanut farming, understands that the yields tend to be cyclical. Still, even industry veterans like Anthony Jean-Claude were surprised at the size of the 2012 peanut crop. While 2011 peanut yields were low due to the Texas drought, 2012 produced historically high yields. Industry experts credited an excellent new variety, the GA06, and nearly perfect growing conditions. Producers in Mississippi averaged 4,400 pounds of peanuts per acre, and Georgia growers averaged 4,550 pounds of peanuts per acre.
The good harvest may bring relief to struggling American consumers who face rising food prices. The end of the peanut shortage may lead to lower peanut butter prices. Peanut butter is a staple protein source for many American children. While farmers initially worried that the huge surplus would depress prices to unsustainable levels, a group of Chinese buyers purchased large amounts of peanuts. China usually buys the bulk of its peanuts from India, but poor growing conditions left the subcontinent without sufficient amounts of peanuts for export. American peanut farmers hope to retain a share of the growing Chinese market.