Over the past few years, demand for U.S pecans has grown both domestically and globally. Fifteen U.S. states grow pecans commercially, and there are now active exports to five different countries. Andy Sherrod grows pecans commercially.
“By far and away the United States is the leading producer of pecans. Pecans are native to this region. This is where they grow. There’s no other place in the world that they grow naturally, so this is its home. This is where it grows. South Africa, though is up and coming. Australia is a big producer of pecans, so other places in the world are producing a lot of pecans, Mexico, but the United States by far and away is the top worldwide producer.”
Sherrod says that Texas is the number two producer behind Georgia.
“From the arid New Mexico, West Texas, all the way through Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, the southern states up into Kansas. Those are our pecan producing regions.”
Sherrod points out that until a few years ago, pecans were primarily a domestic product.
“Right now the largest overseas consumer of pecans, not just American pecans, but worldwide pecans is China. China has jumped into that market about ten years ago, and they continue to be avid consumers of pecans. Other countries, India is another one that’s up and coming, as far as being an exporter, or importer of our pecans.”
Sherrod believes the pecan industry has a bright future.
“Our industry is growing and the overseas demand for our product plus the domestic demand is starting to increase. Just three years ago, four years ago, in the nurseries growing up new trees for new plantings, there were one million trees scattered throughout the various pecan nurseries ready to go out into new plantings. Somebody’s gotten the word that the pecan industry is strong and vibrant, and that’s the truth.”