Meet the Newly Appointed Members and Alternates of the National Peanut Board

As announced earlier this month, four members and four alternates from Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico (At-Large) have been appointed to serve on the National Peanut Board. Here’s a little more about these farmer leaders who are volunteering their service for the industry:

For Arkansas, Greg Baltz of Pocahontas is the reappointed board member.

Greg Baltz is the 2023 vice chairman of the National Peanut Board and served as treasurer of the board last year. Baltz operates Running Lake Farms and has been growing peanuts for 10 years. He farms runner peanuts, rice, corn and soybeans. “It’s an exciting time to be growing peanuts in Arkansas,” Baltz said. “With challenging opportunities for the industry ahead, I’m honored to represent our growers in these endeavors.
“I look forward to serving on the National Peanut Board and collaborating with the members and staff, who are some of the most talented and knowledgeable people in agriculture,” Baltz said. “I also look forward to engaging university research specialist in developing solutions to today’s most challenging peanut issues. And I am keenly interested in advancing the science behind reducing peanut allergies.”
Baltz and his wife Mary Nell have been married for over 40 years and have three married children pursuing their own careers: Lewis, a geologist; Clinton, a mechanical engineer; and Angela, a biomedical engineer.
Baltz graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in agricultural engineering. He serves on the University of Arkansas College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council, as well as the Division of Agriculture Rice Processing Program. He is a current member and former county president of Farm Bureau, and past president of the University of Arkansas Academy of Biological and Agricultural Engineers. Baltz is a former executive officer and member of the Board of Directors of the Knights of Columbus. He is a member of Black River Technical College Ag Advisory Committee. In their spare time, Baltz and Mary Nell enjoy traveling.

Allen Donner of Manila is the reappointed alternate from Arkansas.

Donner owns/operates Blackwater Farms Partnership and grows high oleic runner peanuts, cotton, soybeans and corn. Donner and his son, Heath, mark the fourth and fifth generations, respectively, of farmers in their family. Donner is a graduate of Manila High School and studied agronomy at University of Arkansas and Arkansas State University.
Donner is active in the local agriculture community. He is the current president of three organizations: Arkansas Peanut Growers Association; Cotton Growers Gin, on which he has served for over 27 years; and NE Arkansas Area Conservation District. Previously, Donner served on an advisory committee for Staplcotn Coop., was president of Mississippi County Conservation District Board, and was a board member of Mississippi County Farm Bureau. Donner also volunteers his time for community groups including having served on Manila Public Schools Board of Education for over 15 years with five years as president. He currently serves as deacon at Manila First Baptist Church.
Donner and his wife Debbie, who retired as schoolteacher, have three grown children: Heath and daughter-in-law Melissa: Adam and daughter-in-law Ashley; and Katie (Evans) and son-in-law Kyle. They also have eight grandchildren: Madison, Caitlin, Zeke, Easton, Jack, Kane, Josie and Kyson. In his free time, Donner enjoys water sports including skiing and wakeboarding at the nearby lake.
“Arkansas is one of the newest states to grow peanuts and our first peanut buying point is expected to open early next year,” Donner said. About serving on the National Peanut Board, Donner said, “I want to learn more about the peanut industry as a whole, to understand more about how the Board benefits farmers and to be able to bring that back to the growers at home.”

For Missouri, Clay Deane of Sikeston is the reappointed board member.

Deane operates Triple D Farms in partnership with his cousins. He is a fifth-generation farmer who has been helping on his family’s farm since he was nine years old, and officially began working on the farm after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Mississippi State University in 2012. Deane began growing peanuts on his family’s 9,000-acre farm in 2015. In addition to peanuts, he grows corn, soybeans and cotton.
Deane is a member of the Missouri Farm Bureau, Delta Growers Association, Missouri Peanut Producers Association and Delta Peanut. He was also recently elected to the MFA Fertilizer Board. Deane and his wife, Sara Beth, have one son named Clay Garrett (CG) and recently welcomed their second son, Jack. They are active members in their church and enjoy traveling together. Deane also enjoys hunting with family.
“I would like to be a voice for our state to be able to grow the industry in Missouri and see the industry come to Missouri as far as peanuts are concerned,” Deane said. I look forward to connecting with growers who have grown peanuts their whole lives, like we have grown cotton, and sharing what they know with new growers like us and new areas like this where there's going to be an up-and-coming industry.”

Russ Hoggard of Portageville is the reappointed Missouri alternate.

Hoggard operates Hoggard Farms in partnership with his son, Russell Todd. This is Hoggard’s sixth year growing peanuts and he currently raises high-oleic runners, cotton, rice, corn and soybeans. A third-generation farmer, Hoggard previously farmed with his father (also named Russell) and has been working on the farm since he could ride a tractor at 10 or 11 years old. Hoggard also works as State Farm Insurance agent.
Hoggard has bachelor’s degree in agri-business from Southeast Missouri State University and is active in agriculture and community organizations. He is a board member and secretary for Delta Peanut, LCC. in Jonesboro, Ark. and serves on the University of Missouri Delta Center Advisory Council. He served on the St. Eustachius Parish Council for five years, including three as president, and the St. Eustachius School Board for four years as member and two years as president. Hoggard is also a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Hoggard and his wife Michelle (Missy) have five other children in addition to Todd: Sara Beth Deane, Chase Smith, Macie Hoggard, Mallary Hoggard and Caleb Smith. They also have five grandchildren. In his free time, Hoggard enjoys going to the lake with his family and duck and deer hunting.
About serving on the National Peanut Board, Hoggard said, “Peanuts are still new to us so I’m excited to learn more about the industry in general, from the field to the end products, and the marketing side.”

For Oklahoma, Mark DeLeon of Erick is the newly appointed board member.

Mark DeLeon has been farming for 28 years and has been growing peanuts since 2002. In addition to growing runner and Spanish peanuts, DeLeon, with the help of his son Addison when he is home from college, also grows cotton and runs a cow-calf operation.
DeLeon graduated from Erick High School and attended Oklahoma State University. He is currently the chairman of the Northfork Red River Conservation District Board and has been on the Board for the last 10 years. DeLeon also serves on the Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan Committee. Additionally, DeLeon has served in multiple capacities on the Elk City Summer Youth and Recreation Board for 15 years and is an active member of the Sayre Church of Christ.
He and his wife, Amy, have been married almost 28 years. Amy is a grant manager at Elk City Schools. Their daughter, Bridget, received her undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University in 2021 and recently graduated with her master’s degree in Speech Pathology from University of Texas-Dallas. In June, Bridget is getting married to Zac Kincanon, who is attending law school at the University of Tulsa. The DeLeon’s son, Addison, is a sophomore at Oklahoma State University and is majoring in Agribusiness. In his free time, DeLeon enjoys snow skiing, quail hunting, watching the Houston Astros and Oklahoma State play, and visiting his children.
“I am honored to be appointed to this position and I look forward to learning more about all of the facets of the peanut industry and sharing that knowledge with my fellow farmers in my area,” DeLeon said. “I am thankful for the progress NPB has made in addressing peanut allergies and hope to play a part in further advancements to help the peanut industry to become even more profitable in the future.”

Les Crall of Weatherford is the new alternate from Oklahoma after previously serving as Board Member.

Les Crall has been in peanut farming for most of his life. Crall previously served as Oklahoma Board member, as well as the 2022 chairman of the National Peanut Board. He currently serves as chairman of the Oklahoma Peanut Commission and is serving his second term on the Peanut Standards Board.
Crall earned an undergraduate degree in Accounting and a Master of Business Administration from Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. As a member of the SWOSU faculty for 29 years, Crall served as associate dean of the Everett Dobson School of Business & Technology and in 2018, he received the SWOSU Alumni Association Emeritus Award. In 2022, Crall was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.
Les and his wife Laurie have one daughter, Carlie, and a son-in-law, Greg. The Cralls’ primary farming enterprises are growing peanuts, corn, cotton, wheat, hay and maintaining a cow/calf operation. Crall is the past president of the Weatherford Rotary Club, past president of the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce and a Paul Harris Fellow. Les and Laurie are members of First Baptist Church of Weatherford. Les enjoys spending time with family and friends. Les recently retired from public address announcing. He was the announcer during the basketball season for nearly three decades and also provided the radio broadcast commentary for the Southwestern Oklahoma State University Bulldogs football team.

Lucy Shackelford of Bonita, Louisiana is the newly appointed At-Large member after previously serving as alternate.

Previously, Lucy served as the at-large alternate for the Board. Shackelford and her husband are the owners of Shackelford Farms, which produces runner peanuts, cotton, soybeans and occasionally rice. Shackelford has been part of the farming operation since marriage to her husband John, former NPB At-Large board member, in 1993.
Shackelford earned a Bachelor of Arts from Millsaps College and Juris Doctorate from The University of Mississippi. She practiced law in Jackson, Miss. for several years. After marriage and her children were settled in school, Shackelford became a district manager for clothing companies Carlisle and Worth NY.
Shackelford volunteers her time with several community organizations. She has served on the boards of the Twin City Arts Council, Northeast Louisiana Arts Council and Grace Episcopal School, where she served as two-term chair. She serves on the boards of trustees for the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.
The Shackelfords have three daughters: Lucy Parks recently graduated with a Master of Law in taxation from Southern Methodist University in Dallas; Susu is a project manager for interior design firm in Monroe; and Elizabeth graduated from University of the South and is in her first year of law school at University of Denver. In her downtime, Shackelford enjoys reading, cooking and writing essays. A former tennis player, she stays active by walking four miles a day.
Shackelford believes that her direct style and decision-making abilities will be an asset to NPB. “I have enjoyed meeting my fellow Board members, alternates and the staff over this past year. The marketing work the Board is doing is fascinating and I look forward to sharing a different perspective.”

Clifford Neece of Portales, New Mexico is the newly appointed At-Large alternate.

Neece has been farming for 30 years and grows Valencia peanuts, corn, silage, wheat silage and hay grazer. He also raises beef cattle.
Neece graduated from Portales Highschool in 1992 and is on the Arch Volunteer Fire Department, where he serves as assistant chief. He also runs a self-storage business in Portales. Neece and his wife Shawna have been married for 27 years. Shawna is a third-grade teacher, and they have twin boys, Briley and Chanden, who are 20 years old. In addition to helping on the farm, Briley and Chanden attend Eastern New Mexico University where they are pursing Ag science degrees. In his free time, Neece enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time with his family.
“I’m hoping to learn about the whole industry, from breeding programs to marketing,” Neece said. “I look forward to working to continue keeping the peanut industry vital.”

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