Portales peanut farmer back on national board

Marc Schoder: PNT staff writer

R. Wayne Hardin, a local peanut grower, was appointed to his second six-year term by the United States Department of Agriculture to the 18-member Peanut Standards Board.

When Hardin was originally appointed to the position the New Mexico Peanut Growers recommended him for the appointment. His term will end on June 30, 2008.

“The job of the Peanut Standards Board,” Hardin said, “is to ensure the quality of the peanuts, both domestic and imported.”

The USDA consults with the board before establishing or changing quality and handling standards for domestically produced and imported peanuts.

Hardin’s job is on a volunteer basis, which has him attending conference calls several times a year with a annual meeting in Washington D.C.

The 18-member board consists of three producers and three industry representatives from each of the three producing regions: Southeast (Alabama, Georgia, and Florida), Southwest (Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico); and a region that includes just Virginia and North Carolina.
U.S. Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said in a release that it is vital to New Mexico to have representatives on the Peanut Standards Board.

“Wayne’s vast knowledge of the peanut industry has already made a tremendous contribution to the board,” Udall said. “As we approach the reauthorization of the farm bill, I look forward to working with our farmers and ranchers to strengthen our agricultural sector in the state.”

The 2002 farm bill required the USDA to appoint a new Peanut Standards Board comprised of members of the peanut industry.

Hardin said his family has raised peanuts in eastern New Mexico since 1937. Entrenched in the peanut industry since 1975, Hardin has worked with peanut producers in both New Mexico and West Texas.

Udall added in the release that as the principal owner of Hardin Farms, Hardin has considerable expertise in many phases of the industry, including a deep understanding of the farm bill, federal government programs, NAFTA, as well as all import and export issues.

Before Hardin’s appointment, New Mexico had not had a representative on the Peanut Standards Board.