Joel Hicks, 78, checks his phone before heading to work in the fields early in the morning on Tuesday, October 25, 2022, in Leon, Oklahoma.

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The Last Peanut Farmer in Love County

Austin Anthony | Oklahoma, United States

Joel Hicks, 78, is the last peanut farmer in Love County, Oklahoma. In the ‘80s there were 150 peanut farmers growing 5000 acres, now it’s just Joel’s 75. He says there was a steep drop off after the 2002 Farm Bill removed price supports for peanuts, and now the one other peanut farmer in Love Co. opted out in 2022, deciding to take the time off instead. Joel admired that decision, as the summer resulted in the 6th worst drought in the county’s recorded history. Peanut farming requires turning the peanuts to dry in the sun for a day or two, and in a cruel twist of fate this year it rained on the intended harvest days. Meaning Joel had to take those days off and rush through the process afterwards, resulting in 16 hour days and a lot of lost peanuts. He says whether he continues to farm peanuts or not depends on if he can land a large enough contract, and he won’t know until next spring.

for the Marietta Monitor


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