Bingaman supports reappointment of Portales resident on peanut board

Freedom New Mexico

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman on Wednesday asked U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reappoint Portales resident Jimmie Shearer to the Peanut Standards Board for the Southwest Region.

Shearer is president and CEO of Sunland, Inc., the nation’s largest handler of Valencia peanuts.

Shearer is an original member of the board, created in the 2002 Farm Bill to advise the agriculture secretary on the stablishment of quality and handling standards for domestically and imported peanuts.

The Peanut Standards Board is 18 producers and processors from each of the nation’s three peanut-producing regions — Southwest (New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma), Southeast (Georgia, Florida and Alabama) and Virginia-North Carolina.

Shearer was reappointed in 2006 for a three-year term, which ends in June.

“More than 90 percent of the nation’s Valencia peanuts are grown within 120 miles of Portales, including the neighboring region in West Texas,” Bingaman wrote in a letter to Vilsack. “Because of the unique characteristics of the Valencia peanut and the obstacles facing the market in the future, I believe it is essential for New Mexico’s peanut industry to continue to be fully represented on the Peanut Standards Board.”