by: Gina Marzolo, graduate student of Agricultural Sciences, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Pecan trees (Carya illinoinensis) are native to North America. There are two types of pecans produced within the United States: native or seedling, and improved varieties. The entire 2014 U.S. pecan crop totaled 264.2 million pounds or 132,075 tons, less than a 1 percent decrease from 2013 and 2012. The value of the 2014 pecan crop was $517 million, an increase of 12 percent from 2013. Commercial pecan production was reported in 14 states. Over three-fourths of U.S. pecans were produced in the states of Georgia, New Mexico and Texas (NASS, 2015).
Currently the pecan industry is working to establish a Federal Marketing Order (FMO) to successfully compete with the production of other tree nuts such as almonds, walnuts and pistachios (all of which have their own successful FMOs
The main marketing season for pecans is from the beginning of October to the end of March. However, growers have been able to extend the marketing season by using proper storage methods, such as cold storage. In 2014, average wholesale pecan prices were $1.96 per pound, up 13 percent from 2013. Farmers sold 54 million pounds of in-shell pecans and 210 million pounds of shelled pecans (NASS, 2015) (NMSU – Cooperative Extension, 2005).
Farmers have many different options when selling their pecans. Farmers can sell their pecans in-shell or shelled. They also can sell straight to consumers through farmers’ markets and online websites for retail prices or to accumulators, wholesalers and shellers for wholesale prices. Farmers shelling their pecans prior to selling must keep in mind the costs for shelling equipment and additional labor (NMSU – Cooperative Extension, 2010).