Virginia agricultural leaders are exceptionally proud of the commonwealth’s peanut crop – why shouldn’t they be? – and one lawmaker wants to slightly reduce the tax rate paid by producers.

Del. Emily Brewer (R-Smithfield) has patroned legislation that will extend the excise tax on peanuts for five more years (to July 2026) but will cut it from 30 cents per $100 pounds to 25 cents.

Excise taxes – in some cases called “assessments” – are imposed at the production level on specific products harvested or otherwise originating in Virginia. Apples, eggs, corn, cotton, sheep, grains are among them. Revenue raised usually is targeted either for industry promotional efforts (as is the case with peanuts) or to support the industries in other ways.

Virginia’s “world-renowned peanuts” (that’s the state government speaking) are grown in southeastern Virginia’s sandy soil, where the climate is ideal for producing large kernels.

“Consumers value Virginia peanuts, not only for their large size, but also for their outstanding flavor and crunchy texture,” notes the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The peanut – technically, a legume rather than a nut – is native neither to Virginia nor North America as a whole, appearing to have originated in what today is Brazil or Peru. Europeans developed an interest in them, which ultimately led to their introduction in the British colonies of North America.

(Originally, the crop was not particularly easy to harvest and, as a result, was relegated to use as animal feed.)

Long before peanut farmer and one-term Georgia governor Jimmy Carter rose to national political prominence in the 1970s, another president (Thomas Jefferson) was cultivating the crop, as well.

[Sun Gazette Newspapers provides content to, but otherwise is unaffiliated with, InsideNoVa or Rappahannock Media LLC.]

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