Meet the Newly Appointed Members and Alternates of NPB

As announced earlier this month, six members and seven alternates have been appointed to serve on the National Peanut Board. Here’s a little more about these farmers who are volunteering their service for the industry:

For Alabama, Tom Corcoran of Eufaula is the reappointed board member. 

Corcoran previously served as alternate board member for Alabama for six years. Corcoran owns and operates Liikatchka Plantation in partnership with his wife, Denise; brother, Walt; sister-in-law, Kim; and nephew, Liston Clark. He has owned and operated the farm since 1983. They produce runner peanuts in addition to cotton, soybeans, corn and wheat. They also have a cow/calf operation. 

Outside of his farm, Corcoran is a member of several professional and agricultural organizations including the Alabama Farmers Federation and Barbour County Cattlemen. He has also been a board member of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association for 14 years and was 2011 President of the S.A.F.E. Board Calves sale. Corcoran is also an active member of the First Baptist Church in Eufaula. The Corcorans have two sons, Joseph and Liston, and have been blessed with a grandson. In his free time, Corcoran enjoys Arkansas duck hunting, deer hunting and fishing. 

Corcoran said, “I’m particularly interested in helping with the peanut allergy work the National Peanut Board is doing.”

Thomas Adams of Newville is the reappointed alternate from Alabama.

Adams owns Adams Farms and grows runner peanuts and cotton and raises cattle and poultry. He’s a third-generation farmer and has been farming for 25 years.

Adams is a longtime member of the Alabama Farmers Federation and serves on the Henry County Farmer Federation board of directors. He has also been a director of the Alabama Peanut Producers Board for six years. He and his wife, Farrah, have two children: daughter, Elizabeth Starling (married to Josh), and son, Emery. In his free time, Adams enjoys going to the beach and deep-sea fishing. 

“I’m very proud of the way NPB continues to improve the economic condition of peanut farmers by leading the way in ground-breaking research to improve our yields and always working to create new markets for our product,” he said.

For Florida, William Carte of Live Oak is the is the reappointed board member. 

Carte was Florida’s alternate for two years. For 30 years he has owned and operated Stonewell Farm, the same farm he grew up on. Today he grows peanuts and has a cattle operation. 

His background includes two years at North Florida Junior College and completion of leadership programs with Florida Farm Bureau Young Farmer & Rancher Leadership Group, University of Florida Natural Resources Leadership Institution and the Syngenta Peanut Leadership Academy. He is a member of Suwannee FFA Alumni and Suwanee County Schools FFA Advisory Committee; and board member of Suwannee County Youth Livestock Show and Sale, Florida Farm Bureau, Suwanee County Peanut and Cotton Advisory Committee, and Florida Department of Agriculture Peanut Advisory Committee. He has also served as president at the Farmers Cooperative for five years.

Carte and his wife, Sarah, have two daughters, Maddie and Lindsleigh. In his spare time, he camps with his family and enjoys backpacking on the Appalachian Trail, which is an interest he has had for 42 years.

“I look forward to continuing to serve on behalf of Florida peanut farmers and representing them,” said Carte. “I’m excited about participating in activities of the Board and being able to report back on those events to our state’s growers.”

Nick L. Marshall of Baker is the newly appointed Florida alternate.

For over 20 years, Nick Marshall has been farming peanuts in Baker and is the owner of Marshall Farms, Inc. He is a third-generation farmer who grows cotton and peanuts on over 2,700 acres alongside his parents, James and Helen Marshall.

Marshall graduated from Baker High School and attended Troy State University, with an emphasis in marketing. He completed the Syngenta Peanut Leadership Program, as well as the National Cotton Council’s Policy Education Program and Emerging Leaders’ Program, though the later was postponed until further notice due to the pandemic. Marshall is a member of the Florida Peanut Producers Association and is currently one of only two producer delegates for the Florida National Cotton Council. He also serves as the Florida representative for the American Cotton Producers.

Marshall and his wife, Maryann, belong to Cross Point Church in Crestview. They have two young children: son, Landen; and daughter Emery. In their free time, Marshall and his family enjoy fishing and boating out in the Gulf of Mexico or at Lake Martin in Alabama. They also spend time going to sporting events for their son who does travel ball, and daughter who is in competitive cheerleading.

“I wanted to better serve the peanut industry by joining the National Peanut Board,” said Marshall. “There are not too many farmers in the country, and even less who are able and willing to take time away to serve on an industry board to help us move things forward. If we don’t step up to serve, we won’t have the representation and market opportunities that we would have had otherwise.”

Clay Deane of Sikeston is the inaugural member for Missouri.

Deane is the co-owner and operator of North Delta Planting Co., which he runs in partnership with his cousins as a division of the family farm operation, Triple D Farms. 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 5,500-acre farm in 2015. In addition to peanuts, he grows corn, wheat, soybeans, rice and cotton.

Deane is a member of the Missouri Farm Bureau, Delta Growers Association and Delta Peanut. He was also recently elected to the board of directors for the newly formed Missouri Peanut Producers Association. Deane and his wife, Sara Beth, recently welcomed a new son named Clay Garrett (CG), and are active members in their church. They enjoy traveling together and he also enjoys hunting with family.

Deane said, “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. 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 inaugural member for Missouri.

Hoggard operates Hoggard Farms in partnership with his son, Russell Todd, and nephew, Jeremy. This is Hoggard’s third year growing peanuts and he currently farms 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, and two 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.”

Lonnie Fortner of Port Gibson is the new board member from Mississippi.

Fortner has been a farmer for 24 years and is the managing partner for Bayou Pierre Farms where he grows peanuts, cotton, soybeans and corn. Fortner is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Science in agricultural economics and a 2012 graduate of the Syngenta Peanut Leadership Program.

For more than a decade he has been a member of several industry organizations including the Mississippi Peanut Promotion Board as chairman; Mississippi Peanut Growers Association Board as vice president; Claiborne County Farm Bureau Board as vice president; and the Farmers Co-Op Board as president. His volunteer role with the Mississippi Farm Bureau has been extensive and includes serving as past chairman of the bureau’s peanut advisory board, and as member of the Crop Insurance, Transportation, Farm Fund and Farm Families Campaign committees. He also served with the American Farm Bureau Federation Peanut Advisory and Farm Policy committees, respectively. Fortner is also an active member of the First Baptist Church in Vicksburg.

Fortner and his wife, Karen, have two children, Beth and Lee. When he is not involved with the farm, Fortner enjoys traveling with his family and hunting. 

“I am looking forward to serving on the National Peanut Board for a second term,” said Fortner. “I’m honored to be able to represent Mississippi’s peanut producers on a national level and to help make a difference through research development.”

Alan D. Atkins of Hamilton is the newly appointed Mississippi alternate.

Since 1993, Alan Atkins has been farming on his own in the north hills of Mississippi and now farms on over 3,000 acres of land. Atkins is a fourth-generation farmer, and he typically grows around 800 to 1,000 acres of peanuts on his farm, while the remaining land is allocated to the production of cotton, corn, soybeans, wheat and timber.

Atkins graduated from Aberdeen High School and attended Itawamba Community College before earning his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Mississippi State University. Having previously served on the Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee, Atkins is currently an active member of the Mississippi Peanut Growers Association and the Mississippi Peanut Promotions Board. Atkins is also the vice president of the Monroe County Farm Bureau. In his community, Atkins serves on committees for the New Prospect Baptist Church and the Hamilton High School Baseball and Softball Boosters clubs.

When not farming, Atkins enjoys deer hunting. His wife, Lindy, has been an elementary school teacher for 23 years. They have two children, a son who is studying agriculture at Itawamba Community College, and a daughter who is a senior in high school.

“I wanted to have a voice for the farmers in my community,” said Atkins. “I’ve been planting peanuts since 2006 and I really enjoy growing peanuts, so I thought it was important for me to see what I could do to have a voice for peanut farmers and represent the peanut industry.”

Raymond Garner, Jr. of Roanoke Rapids is the new board member from North Carolina.

Raymond previously served as alternate board member for North Carolina for six years. Garner is a fifth-generation farmer in Halifax County and has been farming since 1992. As owner and operator of Garner Family Farms, he grows peanuts, cotton, soybeans and wheat. Garner graduated from North Carolina State University with a Bachelor of Science in agronomy. Before he became a farmer, he worked with NC Cooperative Extension Service as agriculture agent. 

Garner is the current president of both the Halifax County Farm Bureau and the NC Peanut Growers Association. He is a partner in Roanoke Cotton Company, LLC, in Weldon. He serves in a variety of roles at Smith United Methodist Church and serves on the board of trustees at Halifax Academy. Garner and his wife Janice have two children, Elizabeth and Ray III. In their spare time, the Garners enjoy NC State University football games and attending their children’s sports and extracurricular activities.

“I have enjoyed serving on the National Peanut Board and seeing the positive impact NPB-sponsored research and promotion have had on the industry,” he said. “Peanut consumption is increasing, concerns about peanut allergies are being addressed and production research has improved profitability. It’s a great time to be a peanut farmer.”

Julie Ward of Clarkton is the newly appointed alternate from North Carolina.

Ward is the co-owner of Ward Farms with her husband, former NPB chairman Dan Ward, and wears a variety of hats on the farm to get done whatever needs to get done, including secretary and bookkeeper. Farming with Dan’s parents, Wilbur and Joyce Ward, and son-in-law, Sean Morris, the Wards grow Virginia peanuts, corn and soybeans. Sean is married to oldest daughter Emily, who is a realtor in the Ocean Isle Beach area.

While Ward didn’t grow up in farming, she has been a farmer for 29 years. She says she helped Dan plant his first crop of tobacco the first year they started dating. Ward earned a Bachelor of Science in medical technology from UNC-Wilmington.

Ward is active in agriculture groups and her local community. She has been a North Carolina Farm Bureau member for 29 years; served as co-chair and is currently secretary for NC Farm Fest of Clarkton to promote agriculture in the community; was previously secretary for the Waccamaw Academy board of directors and chair of the PTA; and is on the Clarkton Fire Department board of directors. The Wards are members of Clarkton Presbyterian Church and Ward was previously vice-moderator and moderator and is currently circle chairperson of Presbyterian Women; serves on the committees of Fellowship and Nurture, Worship, and Issues and Concerns; and co-teaches Sunday school classes.

In addition to Emily and Sean, the Wards have a second daughter, Abby, who is a senior at UNC-Wilmington with a double major in psychology and business with a concentration in marketing and a minor in sustainability. In her free time, Ward enjoys family trips to Ocean Isle Beach and Lake Waccamaw and snow skiing.

As the spouse of a former NPB member and chairman, Ward has had some exposure to NPB, but in her new role as NC alternate, she is excited about “meeting new people, learning more about the industry and being an active participant in NPB activities.”

Paul Rogers III of Wakefield is the reappointed Virginia Board member.

For the past nine years, Rogers has served two terms as alternate from Virginia, and one term as Board member. He has been farming for 25 years. In partnership with his father, also named Paul, Rogers produces cotton, peanuts, corn, soybeans and wheat on 1,900 acres of land. Rogers graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering technology and has been farming since graduating in 1997.

Rogers serves as director of several agricultural organizations including the Virginia Cotton Growers Association, Virginia Cotton Board, Surry County Farm Bureau and American Cotton Producers, and previously served on the Virginia Crop Improvement Association. He is also a current delegate for the National Cotton Council Producers and chairman of Southern States Tidewater Petroleum.

Rogers is a two-time past-president of the Wakefield Ruritan Club and is on the board of directors of the Wakefield Sportsman Club. He has been involved in coaching for over a decade, serving as coach of JV basketball and baseball teams through Tidewater Academy and Wakefield Youth Baseball. Rogers and his wife, Dawn, have three children; Lauren, Jake and Cade. Outside of farming, Rogers enjoys hunting and coaching baseball.

“I am proud of the fact while serving as both an alternate and as a member of the Board, we’ve seen the rapid advancement of peanut allergy treatments, from the initial funding of Dr. Lacks' study to his published report that early introduction to children greatly reduces peanut allergies. Being a part of NPB makes me greatly appreciate and understand the value of the money the American peanut farmer provides for research, promotion and education for the entire peanut industry.

“In my final term on the NPB, I am committed to continuing the great work the Board has done for the past 20 years. Obviously, we are in a totally new world, but I am committed to help the Board adapt to the new challenges set forth by the pandemic.” 

Westley Barnes Drake of Newsoms is the reappointed alternate from Virginia.

Drake is the crop production manager of Sandy Ridge Farms, which is owned and operated by his father, Michael, and mother, Rebecca. The three family members run the 1,400-acre farm on which they grow and raise a mix of peanuts, cotton, corn, soybeans wheat and a small herd of black Angus cattle.

Drake began farming for his family in 2011 after graduating with degrees in field crops technology, agribusiness management and general agriculture from North Carolina State University Agricultural Institute. Drake is a member of the board of directors for the Virginia Peanut Growers Association, the Virginia Crop Improvement Association and the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation’s Peanut Advisory Committee.

Drake, and his wife, Maci, recently became new parents of daughter, Skylie. They are members of Newsoms Baptist Church. In his spare time, Drake serves on the Newsoms Volunteer Fire Department and enjoys traveling and attending agricultural conferences to broaden his knowledge. Drake also enjoys writing columns for his local paper, the Tidewater News, often reporting on agriculture.

“It is truly an honor to represent Virginia as the alternate member on the National Peanut Board,” he said. “Since joining the board in 2018, I have enjoyed meeting and getting to know the other board members and staff. I have been blown away by the amount of research and promotional work the National Peanut Board engages in every year. As a producer, I know my check-off money is spent responsibly and is contributing to great things that will enhance the future of our industry.

“In my second term, I am excited about continuing to work with the National Peanut Board members and staff as we lead the peanut industry into the future. While I will greatly miss the board members whose terms are expiring, I also look forward to meeting the new board members and having the opportunity to work with them for the next three years. I will strive to represent the peanut growers in my state, as well as all growers across the nation to the best of my ability!”

Lucy Shackelford of Bonita, La. is the newly appointed alternate for At-Large.

She and her husband John 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’s background and experience is different from the typical farmer. She 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 graduated from law school and is currently pursuing a Master of Law in Taxation at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and is married to Adam Rose; Susu is in her final year of nursing school in New Orleans; and Elizabeth is a senior at University of the South planning to attend law school and focus on environmental law. 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’m interested to serve on the Board to learn more about agri-business.”

Meet the full board here.

Header image 2020 National Peanut Board and alternates: Back row (L-R): Neal Baxley, SC alternate; Casey Cox, GA alternate; Gayle White, OK alternate; Lonnie Fortner, MS alternate; Jeff Roper, TX alternate; West Drake, VA alternate; and Thomas Adams, AL alternate. Middle row (L-R): Micah Barham, At-Large member; Bruce Lee, NM member; Dan Ward, NC member; William Carte, FL member; and Greg Baltz, AR member. Front Row (L-R): Bud Bowers, SC member; Thomas Corcoran, AL member; Peter Froese, Jr., TX member; Andy Bell, GA member; and Les Crall, OK member. Not pictured: Allen Donner, AR alternate; Joe Morgan, MS member; Ray Garner, Jr., NC alternate; and Paul Rogers, VA member.

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