100-year-old South Ga. peanut farmer on his 71st harvest

100-year-old South Ga. peanut farmer on his 71st harvest
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 10:26 PM EST
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WHIGAM, Ga. (WALB) - Many South Georgians working in the agriculture business will tell you that “farming is in my blood,” but few can say it more proudly than St. Elmo Harrison of Whigham. Harrison is 100 years old, and in 2023, he harvested his 71st peanut crop.

In his lifetime, he has seen a big change in the industry. But In his own words, Harrison says he is proud to be a Georgia farmer and still loves to eat peanuts.

“I just love them raw, parched, boiled anyway,” Harrison said. ”Even back when I was in high school, my dad grew peanuts, planted corn. That was with mules. Planted corn. About four rows of corn and a row of peanuts. We would gather the corn, and put the hogs in on them peanuts. Fatten them up and kill them for the meat. First crop I grew in the field right above here. I planted I believe was five or six acres. We had to use an eight-end Ford Tractor and plowed them up. And then went back and shook the dirt out and inverted them where they dry. Then, we put them up on stag poles. Put up poles about 15 feet high. And put cross pieces up off the ground. Put that pole in the ground and then brought the peanuts, stack them up on that pole to let them dry. And then took them down when they got dry. The picker came in. It was stationed there. Threw the peanuts in and harvest them. Lots of difference from then. I been farming since 1951. And this is my 71st peanut crop. Even though the price is so high, and the profit is so small, I just love to farm.  And enjoy growing peanuts.”

Harrison said his 71st peanut crop this year was 35 acres, and he says the yield was not his best. But we want to salute St. Elmo Harrison, a true Proud to be a Georgia Farmer.