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APGG cuts ribbon on American Peanut Ingredients facility

Pictured left to right, front row: Mark Hanna, Mark Burkett, Congressman Sanford Bishop, APGG CEO Neal Flanagan, and State Senator Sam Watson; second row: Joe Pete Heard, Tommy Dollar, Tim Burch, Andy Bell, and Raymond Thompson; back row: Sam Hattaway, Van Hornsby, Greg Calhoun, APGG CFO Ward Trulock (retired), APGG CEO Terry Shamblin (retired), Glenn Heard, and Jimmy Lee 

More than 200 members and guests, including Congressman Sanford Bishop and Georgia State Senator Sam Watson, gathered at 10 a.m. on Monday, July 26, for the official ribbon cutting ceremony for American Peanut Ingredients (API) in Donalsonville. Construction on the new 140,000-square-foot facility, a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Peanut Growers Group, is nearing completion and will contain an additional shelling plant and a Ready-To-Eat (RTE) peanut ingredient plant. API General Manager Jeremy Mayes commented, “Just shy of 100 news jobs will have been created when the plant is fully operational.”

The company partnered with General Contractor Hollis and Spann, shelling equipment manufacturer LMC, and ingredient equipment manufacturer AC Horn. 

“The APGG producer-owners provided a total investment of $86,000,000 for the new facility,” commented APGG CEO Neal Flanagan. “The new peanut ingredient facility will produce various roasted peanut products, and it will allow our producer-owners to integrate further vertically and keep additional economic revenue streams and jobs here in the rural communities in Southwest Georgia.”  

American Peanut Growers Group, LLC was organized to allow its members to process their peanuts into peanut products and obtain the benefits of such subsequent processing through the ownership of appropriate processing facilities. Owning the drying equipment, the grading facilities, the warehouses, and the shelling plant allows APGG and its producer-owners to be vertically integrated. Together they grow, process, promote, and sell their product while taking advantage of the strengths of their excellent soil and irrigation concentrated within Southwest Georgia. The concept is to secure market access and improve farm income and profitability through cooperatively shelling and marketing peanuts to manufacturers.  

Mark Burkette, APGG Chairman of the Board and one of APGG’s founding members, commented, “It’s truly amazing to look back 20 years when we started and ride around today and see how far we have come. Most everything you will see, except for the Ready-To-Eat equipment, was built by people in our surrounding area.

We started clearing land for APGG and then began construction two decades ago, and the first year we handled around 52,000 tons of peanuts. Everyone got together and cleared the property. Started pouring the foundation for shelling plant in July. It rained every day, and we had to pump water out. 

Our first office was located at Chip Stewart’s office and Terry Shamblin was our CEO. We were extremely fortunate that we had a lot of people in Donalsonville with peanut experience, like Joe Hall, Willard Mims and so many more. Terry was able to put a great team together for us. 

Our goal on day one, now two decades ago, remains the same today – to help the local farmers become more vertically integrated and increase their profitability.”

American Peanut Growers Group, LLC was formed in late 2002, with the original shelling plant finishing in November 2003. The companies sit on a 250-acre campus with two buying points, two shelling plants, one blancher, one cold storage, multiple warehouses, a truck shop, a feed mill, a solar field for renewable energy, and now a Ready-To-Eat peanut ingredient facility. APGG employs over 240 people in Donalsonville, a town with a population of 2,800 people.

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