LUCEDALE — Mississippi agriculture will enter new territory when the first certified peanut seed grown in the state becomes available to growers in spring 2010. This industry first was achieved by brothers Mike and Heath Steede on 47 acres of their family-owned farm in Lucedale. “This is a great accomplishment and important step forward for Mississippi agriculture. It is truly encouraging to see farmers taking advantage of new opportunities to grow our emerging peanut industry,” Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce Commissioner (MDAC) Dr. Lester Spell said.
“Peanuts are very well suited for the soil in Mississippi and fit into rotation well behind corn and cotton,” Mississippi Crop Improvement Association (MCIA) executive secretary Dr. Bennie Keith said.
MCIA provides certification standards for genetic identity, purity and quality of seed. Farmers purchasing quality seed decrease their risk of encountering poor stands, low plant yields, plant pests and diseases. Certified seed carries a Blue Tag Label, which indicates the seed meets certification standards, was properly rotated in the field, handled with inspected and approved equipment and laboratory tested. The State Seed Laboratory, operated by MDAC’s Bureau of Plant Industry, must perform germination and purity testing before seed can be certified.