Jonesboro, AR-- August 5, 2019
It’s a first for the state of Arkansas, and it’s happening in Jonesboro.
Delta Peanut will begin operations this fall. When it does, it will become the first peanut shelling plant in the state.
Dirt work is already underway at the 71-acre site in Jonesboro’s Craighead Technology Park with the quickly approaching goal of being ready to buy and store a harvest by September. It’s a 60-day sprint to what has been a 4-5 year plan. The shelling operation is scheduled to be up and running by April 2020.
“We had to establish a market here,” says Tommy Jumper of Delta Peanut.
And it seemed like Northeast Arkansas, especially Jonesboro, was a great fit. Jumper says roughly 30,000 acres of peanuts will be planted regionally this year and brought to Jonesboro for drying. Until now, that harvest had to be taken to peanut shelling plants in South Georgia or West Texas. That makes it costly and inefficient for local peanut farmers to get their product to market.
Now, peanut growers in Arkansas, Southeast Missouri, and regionally will have the option to cut miles and costs, and bring those peanuts to market closer to home. And with peanut butter makers Jif in Memphis, Skippy in Little Rock and Kraft-owned Planters Peanut in Fort Smith, having Delta Peanut in Jonesboro is a logical location.
Tommy Jumper says 60 farmers/investors put in $26.5M to make Delta Peanut happen, part of the overall $70M project.
Jumper adds that within 3-5 years, they will have invested over $100M. That investment, according to Jumper, will create approximately 130 direct new jobs, including those created at the Delta Peanut’s buying point in Marianna.
When the shelling operation is fully up and running it will shell over 180,000 tons of peanuts annually. Over 60,000 tons of those peanuts will be on-site in Jonesboro and stored in three warehouses and one “surge” warehouse. Additional buying points will store the balance in neighboring towns in Arkansas and surrounding states. The Jonesboro site will also have six drying buildings.
“We raise high-quality peanuts here,” Jumper says. Now, with the addition of Delta Peanut to Jonesboro the region and its
farmers will be better able to take advantage of that and share their harvest and hard work world-wide.