Georgia Pecans To Grow In Popularity

Consumers across the country may soon be hearing about pecans the way they do about pistachios, beef and milk, as the American pecan industry looks to have its own federal marketing order (FMO) that could greatly boost the commodity’s profile.

If secured, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) FMO would authorize the promotion, data collection and research activities of pecans in 15 states, including Georgia, which is the nation’s largest pecan producing state, producing an average of 88 million pounds of the nuts annually.

As part of the process the USDA is hosting three hearings in three states this month where pecan growers and other industry stakeholders, including handlers and shellers, will have the opportunity to share their feelings about the benefits, costs and other potential impacts of the proposed FMO. Georgia Pecans

The USDA hearing in Georgia is set for Monday through Wednesday at the Hilton Garden Inn at 201 Boo Drive in Tifton. The Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Pecans, better known as the Georgia Pecans Commission, has already announced its support of the FMO.

The push for the FMO has been building for years as the pecan industry has watched similar FMOs bolster the profile and sales of other tree nuts such as almonds and pistachios, outpacing the pecan.

In 1960 the pecan industry was larger than the almond industry, which got an FMO in the 1950s. Mike Adams, a Texas pecan grower and president of the American Pecan Board, which was founded two years ago, said that currently the almond industry is 33 times larger than it was in the 1960s, while the pecan industry has remained roughly the same.

Adams believes demand, price and supply for almonds has increased thanks to marketing, and a similar scenario is happening with pistachios, which also have an FMO.

Eight years ago pistachios were even with pecans in terms of crop size,” said Adams. “They increased their marketing spending from $400,000 to $10 million in one year and supply and demand took off. Almonds and pistachios are a real example that marketing works.”

With its own FMO, Adams said, the same thing could happen for the pecan industry, which he feels needs a better way to market its product nationally.

“We have a great story to tell and we needed a better way to tell it,” Adams said. “Georiga pecans have great health benefits, and our commodity is equally favored, in some cases preferred, to our sister tree nuts. The benefits of a marketing order will facilitate our telling that story, and the result will be increased meat prices for shellers, more net dollars for handlers and higher farm prices for growers.”

If approved, the FMO will establish the American Pecan Council with 17 members representing growers, shellers, and two at-large members, all of which will be selected by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.

That council, with approval from the Agriculture Secretary, can then set up programs for product and container development, production and nutritional research, and marketing promotion, which would include paid advertising. The council will also be able to collect certain fees to fund these programs.

In order for the marketing order to pass, either two thirds of the qualified growers voting must vote in favor of the order, or the number of favorable votes cast by growers must represent two thirds of the production volume voting.

Qualified growers would be defined as those producing a minimum of 50,000 pounds of in-shell pecans during a production year or owning a minimum of 30 pecan acres as recognized by the USDA’s Farm Service Agency.

© Copyright 2015 Albany Herald

Here’s A Look At Harvest Of Georgia Pecans From  Georgia Farm Monitor:

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