U. S. pecan growers are confident the federal marketing order (FMO) they passed in a March referendum will increase consumer demand for their crop. The pecan industry is specifically gunning for a share of the snack market that pistachio and almond growers have built using funds they’ve collected for years under similar orders for their crops.
The USDA announced May 6 that 77 percent of pecan growers who voted in the federal referendum held March 9 through March 30 supported implementing the order. In addition to promoting pecans to consumers, the order will collect and publish industry data, fund and coordinate pecan research, establish uniform quality, grade and size standards, and create packaging guidelines and standards. Growers voting in the referendum accounted for 88 percent of the pecan production volume represented in the vote.
Pecan growers in Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas, who annually produce a minimum of 50,000 pounds of inshell pecans or own a minimum of 30 pecan acres will fund the order.
The American Pecan Board (APB) has worked closely with growers in the 15 states where pecans are commercially grown and the USDA for the past two and a half years to create a marketing order that will benefit and represent pecan growers, buyers, processors and consumers, the APB stated in a a press release.
The marketing order the growers passed stipulates that a 17-member American Pecan Council (APC) will administer the order. Pecan growers and shellers (handlers) will nominate potential council members to represent them. The USDA will take nominations after the order goes into effect, which will occur when the USDA publishes the final rule in the federal register. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack will select the members from the nominations.