Pecan Production Declines in the Southeast

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Dr. Bill Goff, long time pecan researcher, pecan grower, consultant and retired extension specialist, Auburn University gave an enlightening talk at the Southeastern pecan growers annual conference. Dr. Goff’s talk “The Southeast Pecan Industry – Past, Present & Future” showed us the history of pecans in the southeast and how far we’ve come from mule drawn spray rigs and men armed with cane poles and keen climbing abilities for what is now the modern shaker. Dr. Goff also covered the production history for the past 67 years in the southeastern US and revealed much to my amazement a decline in production of pecans coming from the area. Dr. Goff showed pecan production data from 1950 to 2107 and amongst the highs and lows of alternate bearing years a downward trend line emerged showing the decrease in pecan production from the southeast. Dr. Goff went on to explain that over the years orchards may have been forgotten and left to disinterested family members, been part of a housing development or for any number of reasons the land was left and production declined. Commercial pecan growers in the area still continue to plant more pecan acreage, however most industry officials believe it will take many more years of heavy planting to increase the pecan production in the southeastern US.