WESTMINSTER - Hampstead resident William J. Collins Jr. got his start in agriculture growing peanuts, and he talked about that crop at Thursday's monthly agribusiness breakfast at Baugher's Restaurant.
"I got into college by peanuts, hogs and pine trees," Collins said of his younger days in southeastern Virginia.
Now a vice president for the Farm Credit Banks of Baltimore, Collins talked about peanuts and showed a video describing the entire production process, from soil preparation through distribution.
But the information won't be of much use to Carroll farmers, he admitted, because "With our heavy soils here, we could not grow 'em."
Collins noted that peanuts could be grown in southern Maryland, on the lower Eastern Shore and in Delaware, areas with longer frost-free seasons (the plants need about 160 days to mature) and sandier soils.
But federal marketing quotas prohibit the sale of peanuts grown in Maryland or Delaware.
The video said most U.S. peanuts are produced in seven southern states. About half are processed into peanut butter, while the remainder are used for candy, peanut oil or roasted nuts.
Collins said the larger Virginia-type nuts, grown in Virginia and North Carolina, become roasted peanuts, while varieties grown in the deep South are used more for processed products.
Collins displayed a peanut plant from a trip home to his father's farm last weekend.