Growing up in Hartsville, S.C., Randy Griggs had no idea a path paved with peanuts would lead him to Alabama’s Wiregrass and around the world.
“Working with the peanut farmers of Alabama has been one of the most rewarding careers anyone could ever want,” said Griggs, who lives in Dothan and retired Nov. 27 as Alabama Farmers Federation’s Peanut Division director. “The farmers and their families are some of the most noble, hard-working people on earth. The friendships made through my job over the years are rare in most occupations. They are genuine and will last way beyond retirement.”
Griggs, a 1971 graduate of Clemson University, received an MBA from the University of South Carolina in 1976. He joined the South Carolina Department of Agriculture after graduation and worked with market development, promotion and expansion programs. He helped create the South Carolina Peanut Board while in graduate school and was hired as its first executive director.
Griggs joined the Alabama Farmers Federation in 1978 and was director of the Horticulture and Export Development Divisions. In 1982, he was named the Federation Peanut Division director and executive director of the Alabama Peanut Producers Association. Through the years, he became an icon of the peanut industry, lobbying on state and federal levels for peanut farmers. He also spearheaded efforts to create the peanut breeding program at Auburn University.
“Randy has been a tremendous advocate for all farmers and especially peanut farmers,” said longtime friend and former supervisor Jimmy Carlisle, who recently retired as director of the Federation’s Governmental and Agricultural Programs Department. “Under his leadership, the demand for Alabama-grown peanuts has grown globally. He helped strengthen the peanut industry by bringing together farmers from throughout the South to form the Southern Peanut Farmers Federation.”
Griggs and his wife, Connie, have two sons and daughters-in-law and five grandchildren. They are members of Covenant United Methodist Church in Dothan.
Griggs is president of the Alabama Agribusiness Council. He said he wants to stay involved in the peanut industry, although he intends to enjoy retirement by spending more time with his family, playing golf and wood working.