Even Mother Earth Loves Peanuts

Did you know the humble peanut is one of the most sustainable crops in modern agriculture? This Earth Day take a closer look at one of your pantry’s surprising environmentally friendly products – peanuts.
Zero-Waste
Peanuts are one of nature’s original “zero-waste” plants. From roots to shells, every part is utilized throughout the planting, growing, harvesting and production process. The peanut plant has the unique ability to improve the soil in which its grown because it is nitrogen fixing, which means it takes nitrogen from the air and turns it into food. Consequently, peanut plants do not need a lot of extra fertilizer and are able to rely on the nutrition left by previous crops. Farmers can rotate crops less because peanuts add to the soil, rather than taking away.
Water Conservation
Having deep roots allows crops to seek water from deep in the soil; most peanut fields are non-irrigated and rely solely on rainwater. Because of this, they have one of the smallest carbon footprints of any nut. It takes less than five gallons of water to grow an ounce of peanuts. Did you know that peanut plants are also hearty during water shortages? They can pause their growth and consume less water in times of drought. can pause their growth and consume less water in times of drought.
Useful Byproducts
Some companies and brands are finding uses for peanut hulls as well. While they make fine steakhouse floor décor, they can be processed into uniform pellets that are used for absorbents, soil additives and even a source of biofuel.  
As peanuts are harvested, they are separated from the green, vine-like plants from which they grow. This can be turned into organic fertilizer for subsequent crops, or the foliage can be dried to make legume-based hay for cattle, goats, and pigs. It carries many of the same properties as alfalfa at a much lower cost.
Earth-Focused Farmers
Peanut farmers love the land and work hard to protect it from environmental damage. Many farmers have been working with peanuts for generations and understand their work today impacts the future. This has led to innovations in irrigation systems that reduce water runoff, wind drift and excessive evaporation, which lead to water waste. Apps now exist that allow farmers to monitor and control their soil moisture from their phone, reducing the need for manual checks. GPS in tractors and combines reduce waste by tilling, seeding, and ploughing to within inches, which allows farmers to increase their harvest per acre. In addition, farmers are breeding peanuts that increase yields without increasing water consumption.
So next time you reach for a jar of peanut butter or a can of peanuts, you can feel good about your choice. Enjoy earth-friendly peanuts today!

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