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August 14, 2000   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
August 14, 2000

Montgomery Peanut producers and the March of Dimes are taking to the streets to educate consumers about the health benefits of folic acid, a vitamin found in peanuts.

Inspired by the success of a partnership between the Alabama Peanut Producers Association (APPA) and March of Dimes, the National Peanut Board last week agreed to provide $1 million to sponsor the charity's annual fundraiser, WalkAmerica. APPA Executive Director Randy Griggs said the WalkAmerica sponsorship was part of $6.17 million in research and promotional activities approved by the Peanut Board.

"Growers across the nation work very hard to fund research and promotional programs like the folic acid campaign," explained Griggs. "The affiliation with the March of Dimes on the national level goes to enhance what we developed here in Alabama two years ago when the Alabama Peanut Producers Association teamed with the March of Dimes -- Alabama Chapter to promote the health benefits of folic acid. This is a win-win situation. It builds consumer confidence, which is good for growers, and it allows the March of Dimes a whole new conduit for visibility."

Russell County farmer Ben Bowden, who serves as chairman of the National Peanut Board's promotions committee, said he is excited about the producer-funded projects being undertaken by the newly established board.

"I'm very pleased we're getting things going now," Bowden said. "I'm also pleased to see a partnership, such as the one Alabama peanut growers have with the Alabama Chapter of the March of Dimes, expand to a national level. I feel promotions like the one with the National March of Dimes WalkAmerica program will affect the peanut industry in a positive manner."

Alabama March of Dimes Executive Director Bill Lateulere said the expanded partnership also will benefit thousands of babies.

"This is more good news about peanuts and the March of Dimes," said Lateulere. "Every year more than 2,000 babies are born with a neural tube defect, most of which can be prevented by taking folic acid."

The Alabama Chapter of the March of Dimes recently received the 1999 National Program Service Award based, in part, on successful collaborations and partnerships with organizations like the Alabama Peanut Producers Association. March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency that works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds research, community services, education, and advocacy programs. For more information about the March of Dimes and its mission, visit the organization's home page at www.modimes.org.

In addition to its $1 million sponsorship for the March of Dimes WalkAmerica program, the National Peanut Board also approved funds to enhance health and nutrition programs, export promotions for U.S. peanuts, and medical research.

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