Jeff Roper of Plains, Texas, is the newest director on the Texas Peanut Producers Board. He and his wife, Melissa, have a 14-year-old daughter named Brittney and a 10-year-old son named Bryson. A third-generation farmer, Roper has farmed since 1993 and now farms 450 acres of peanut, as well as an additional 1,950 acres of various crops including both dryland and irrigated cotton as well as wheat.
In addition to his involvement with the board, Roper also is a partner in All-Star Peanuts, a peanut-buying point, as well as being a member of Yoakum County Farm Bureau Board. Roper said these associations give him a strong background to help in advancing the efforts of the board.
“I feel like I have the knowledge it takes to make a difference,” Roper explained. “The more you know, the better decisions you are able to make.”
One challenge Roper said he felt the peanut industry was currently facing was the lack of variety in production. Due to this, Roper said, other industries such as cotton have been able to double their production with the same amount of land and make large strides against disease control. He hopes in the near future the peanut industry will be able to follow suit and make great strides in production techniques.
Roper mentioned he would encourage anyone participating in a commodity to be active in related organizations. One method he would recommend within the peanut industry is the Peanut Leadership Academy, a gathering of young growers and shellers from Texas, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi, where he said he learned about peanut industry and politics as well as what it will take to change these aspects. This experience gave Roper a springboard to participation on the board, and allowed him to practice collaborating with other industry leaders, which Roper said is the only way to advance the industry.
“Everyone has different ideas,” Roper emphasized. “The only way to make anything better is to gather those ideas and collaborate.”