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In the Long Run: Despite Legislative Changes, Peanut Availability Remains Within Historical Range

U.S. peanut availability (a proxy for consumption) has fluctuated over the past 40 years between 5 and 7 pounds per person each year, usually declining only when weather negatively affected yields. Most peanuts are consumed in processed products such as snack peanuts, peanut butter, and candy. Snack peanuts, including salted, unsalted, and honey roasted products, accounted for 22 percent of peanut consumption in 2007 and peanut butter accounted for 52 percent. The 2002 Farm Act removed longstanding regulatory quotas that limited supplies by issuing annual marketing rights to farmers. Following the policy change, the availability of peanuts grew, but it remains below the historical high of 1989.