"We're afraid if we cost the government a lot of money, we'll get less in the next farm bill," said Tyron Spearman, executive director of the National Peanut Buying Points Association.
Some 215,000 tons of peanuts remain unsold from the 2004 crop and agricultural officials predict growers will produce another 2.3 millions tons this year. Despite recent growth in peanut consumption, Americans use only about 1.6 million tons of peanuts a year. Another 300,000 to 400,000 tons are exported.
Since the government program guarantees farmers $355 per ton, federal taxpayers pay the difference between the guaranteed price and the market value of the peanuts.