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A Changing Landscape in the Pecan Industry

As pecan growers across the southern US continue their harvest activities, eastern growers are nearing the end of harvest while growers in the west are still in the early stages. Pecan growers have seen significant change over the past decade in the pecan industry. 


Growers have formed multiple new organizations, staffed and funded them all in the pursuit of increased education and demand for pecans. While demand from China may have been a catalyst for initial increases, growers have taken it upon themselves to move the industry forward with or without demand from China. 


Only 60 or so years behind the Almond industry American pecan growers have now formed a comprehensive marketing order and are actively raising awareness about the health benefits of pecans. New studies have been funded to understand the pecans’ cognitive benefits in humans among other benefits. The US Pecan Growers Council continues marketing efforts in various countries around the world and the American Pecan Council is funding the US Growers Council along with other global marketing agencies such as Weber Shandwick. 


All this organization and effort in the industry while increasing consumer awareness and demand for pecans, has also caught the attention of the investor class. While pecan growers continue to increase their own acreage, investors have taken note of the returns on pecan orchards and have begun to get in game. 


Many new orchards being planted are from first time growers and others are from investors. While institutional money has taken note and bought out existing orchards with operations already in place, many high income individuals with disposable income have also been funneling money into land and new orchards. 


With orchards taking from 7-10 years to come into commercial production, there is a whole new breed of grower coming to meetings to learn about the industry. From doctors, lawyers, and business owners, to bankers, and construction workers the pecan industry is seeing a whole new breed of producer begin to plant orchards. 


Investment into agriculture is a safe way to diversify a portfolio with tangible assets as well as the inherent ability to put effort and time into a new skill such as caring for newly planted trees. With service providers offering complete turnkey packages to design, install and advise or maintain the orchard, the pecan industry has made it easy for investors to enter the industry, and they are doing just that. 


While acreage and production is still minuscule when compared to the Walnut and Almond industries here in the US, the pecan industry still has room to grow, and more investors will need to enter in order to keep up with expected growth in demand.