Who doesn’t love a good peanut butter sandwich or some roasted peanuts in the shell? Unless of course you have an allergy, just about everyone consumes peanuts or their oil. So have you ever met a peanut farmer? I’m lucky to have Jillian Etress on my blog today. She and her husband Jared farm peanuts, along with cotton, soybeans, corn, and cattle in Southern Alabama. She does a great job of sharing many stories unique to their crops and helps others learn where their food comes from. It’s part of my month-long series featuring the diversity of Agriculture. Why are YOU Agriculture Proud?

Did you know that the average child will eat 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before he or she graduates high school? Or that Americans spend $800 million on peanut butter each year?

Peanuts are essential to the American diet as well as the diets of millions of people around the world who depend on this nutrient packed legume to provide protein, folate and hard-to-come-by minerals such as zinc, magnesium, copper and selenium.

In our little corner of the world peanuts are not hard to come by. In fact about half of the peanuts grown in the US are grown within a 100 mile radius of Dothan, Alabama. Also, the average US peanut farm is a mere 100 acres and most are family owned.

This is where our story begins. My husband and I were both born to non-farming parents but had grandparents that were very involved with our raising and care. Both of us spent the first five years of our lives “at day care” in a tractor cab. Our classroom was a field; our teachers were our grandpas.

Our passion for learning about agriculture continued through high school, college and into our careers. We are just starting out and farm peanuts, cotton, soybeans, oats, corn and raise a few cows. I love the life we live and how we were raised. I couldn’t imagine a better way to grow up than learning where your food comes from first hand and developing an understanding of the great role that farmers and ranchers play in keeping the public full, happy and healthy. I am proud of the agriculture community and the people that make it up. I am proud of the new innovations in agriculture that allow us to feed more people with less, of the agriculture teachers that work to teach trades to students that aren’t cut out for college and for regular ol’ farmers that work harder than most to make sure Americans around this country have food for their families. Agriculture works and that’s why I’m Ag Proud!

Links from the National Peanut Board: Classroom Funfacts, Nutrition, Commodity Information.

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Be sure to check out Jillian’s adventures on the farm through her blog and on Twitter