* Thomas A. Beaty
Thomas A. (Tom) Beaty, a native of Coosa County, Alabama, now resides in Auburn, Alabama.
Beaty’s love of the land was cultivated on the farm, where he learned the value of hard work and the importance of being a good steward of the land. After completing military service on an overseas assignment, Beaty used the G.I. Bill to attend the College of Agriculture at Auburn University where he received a degree in agricultural education in 1962.
Long known for his can-do attitude, Beaty obtained a position in the agricultural sales department of Steven’s Industries and was instrumental in bringing new technologies, herbicides, and insecticides into the farmers’ fields for use. Because of his ability to communicate well with people both inside the company and out on the farm fields, Beaty rose quickly through the ranks. After time with the farmers, Beaty realized the need to further process peanuts between the shelling plant and the manufacturer. From this insight, Universal Blanchers was established in Blakely, Georgia, in 1978. The company, which prepares peanuts for value-added processing into candy and other food products, has played a key role in the expansion of the southeastern peanut industry and has opened many markets for dryland farmers in the Southeast.
During his more than 40 years of work in the industry, Beaty has been known as a kind and compassionate boss as well as a pioneer in the peanut processing sectors. His leadership and ideas have led to improved profits for peanut farmers and safer, more affordable peanut-based food stuffs for consumers. Beaty has held many positions in the peanut industry including serving on the National Peanut Council and the American Peanut Shellers Association. He was awarded the Peanut Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 and is considered a legend of the peanut industry.
Beaty is a strong advocate for Auburn University, and an active participant and supporter of the College of Agriculture and the Agricultural Alumni Association. Beaty and his wife, Kay, have two daughters.