Here’s Why This Young Peanut Farmer is Continuing the Family Legacy

Douglas Harrell is the son of former National Peanut Board Chairman John Harrell and his wife Deena. Douglas grew up on the farm north of Whigham, Georgia. As kids, he and his cousin Lafe were given lots of manual labor on the farm and they both couldn’t wait to get off the farm. “We both went to the University of Georgia and we’re both full-time farmers now,” Douglas said. “I hate to say farming is just in your blood, but there’s something about it that brings you back.”

This is Douglas’ 11th crop since he started farming full time in 2010. “It’s an honor and privilege to call myself the seventh generation of the family farm because I know we have such high inputs and operating costs that you can’t get up one day and say, ‘we’re going to farm.’”

Douglas’ favorite season of the year is peanut harvest time. “There’s something about September and October. In southwest Georgia we get that cool crisp morning and it’s just like Christmas in the fall. It’s cool enough that you want to be in the sunshine outside. That smell of the dirt and peanuts drying down; it’s as if mother nature was baking.”

With his father serving on the National Peanut Board for more than a decade, Douglas has seen firsthand the bonds that are formed. “I remember of Daddy’s time on the Board, it almost seemed like NPB was an extension of the family. It was board meetings and traveling, but still it was friendships. He would get a phone call from a board member just catching up on rainfall. Good friendships were formed from getting off the farm and getting out there and promoting the product that you grow.”

While Douglas is optimistic for his farm to continue into the next generations, there are challenges. “Operating costs and inputs are the biggest challenges for me, but that’s the importance of the NPB. The research is important for your inputs. Results don’t happen overnight, but I feel like I’m better off now than I was in 2010.”

Douglas hopes the call of farming doesn’t end with his generation. “What I hope for the future of our family farm is that it doesn’t stop at the seventh generation. That would be cool to see an eighth generation if he or she wanted, that would be amazing.”

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