Sunland Peanuts Inc. of Portales was recognized as one of the top 100 privately-owned businesses in New Mexico this week at a luncheon in Albuquerque.
The New Mexico Private 100 luncheon held Thursday was sponsored by Albuquerque businesses and recognized privately-owned businesses which largely impact New Mexico economy and create a high number of jobs.
"We tend to lose sight of the fact that the smaller privately-owned businesses are the cornerstone, the baseline for employment in New Mexico," said Steven Keene, a regional partner with Moss Adams, a sponsor of the event, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
According to the Journal, the 100 businesses honored at the luncheon employ 11,000 people total.
Sunland employs 125 of those 11,000 people.
The peanut company, which was founded in 1988, produces 6,000 pounds of peanut butter an hour on top of making other peanut products, such as roasted peanuts and peanut brittle.
The company contracts with 130 peanut farmers to make its products.
According to Sunland President Jimmie Shearer, now is a good time to be in the peanut butter business.
"Peanut butter is, in my opinion, getting close to being like milk in that just about every household has peanut butter in their pantry," he said. "It's pretty much to the point most everyone eats peanut butter."
Shearer said he was very surprised when he received the call from one of the luncheon's hosting organizations to tell him Sunland had been chosen as one of the top 100 privately-owned New Mexico businesses.
"I think it's a great honor to be able to be in that group," Shearer said. "I was really surprised that we were among the top 100. It was a big honor to be a part of it."
Shearer said he owes the success of the peanut plant to those who are employed there.
"No company is better than the worst employee it's got and we have a lot of really good people working at Sunland," he said. "We have a great staff from line workers all the way up to the management staff."
— The Albuquerque Journal contributed to this report.