VERNON (KFDX/KJTL) — Texas A&M AgriLife Foundation Seed is building a peanut sheller.
“Texas A&M AgriLife Foundation Seed is more than just helping this center. It helps the whole peanut industry and the whole peanut research program at Texas A&M,” Foundation Seed manager Dr. Richard Vierling said.
Texas A&M AgriLife Foundation Seed researches and breeds plants. When it comes to peanuts, Foundation Seed cleans their seeds and contracts them out to peanut shelling companies. But with the addition of their own peanut seller, they can maintain peanut purity during their research.
“The sheller will let us segregate specific varieties of peanuts and get them into the food system. And so this sets up for what’s called identity preservation where you follow the genetic of a specific peanut. Through the plant breeding, seed production, growing by the farmer, all the way to the food company and eventually to consumer,” Dr. Vierling said.
Because Foundation Seed’s sheller will be able to preserve a variety of seeds, candy companies have approached them about their peanuts. But local farmers could get first dibs.
“I think you want to minimize costs and one of the big costs is shipment. It’s cheaper to move it five miles away than from 50 miles away.”
The sheller will also bring four full-time positions and a part-time position to the city of Vernon. Which is a big reason why the Business Development Corporation of Vernon awarded Foundation Seed $85,000 for the project.
“It’s important for agriculture. It’s important for our farmers. So ya know all around it was a good deal. They already contribute immensely to our local economy. And this is just an addition to that contribution,” Business Development Corporation of Vernon managing consultant Rick Hardcastle said.
A contribution that brings more business to the city of Vernon and to Texas A&M AgriLife Research.
The peanut sheller should be up and running by November.