The pecan industry has seen its share of ups and downs, but few times have been as bumpy as the past couple of years. Since the industry began expansion over the past decade, pecan producers have dealt with a myriad of growing pains.
From learning export markets and working trade shows to forming councils and staffing them and learning government grant and export programs, pecan growers have had to educate themselves in much more than just the latest techniques of sizing nuts during the nut fill stage of the pecans life cycle in the orchard.
Each year pecan producers add yet another asset to their tool box in management of an industry on the verge of enormous global growth. American pecan producers set out to clean up their industry and trade in segregation, confinement, and disconnectedness for an open, straightforward, and candid industry. Quickly fading are the days of sheller/broker propaganda that seek to manipulate both consumers and producers while foolishly devaluing the market. The American pecan producers have dragged the market forward kicking and screaming, and it’s starting to pay big dividends.
The American pecan growers council, now in its second year of reporting pecan data, is showing that even with a trade war, and multiple natural disasters, persistence will drive demand. American pecan growers had been focusing large portions of their efforts in China’s ever growing middle class market, with great success. However, several years back growers decided to focus more efforts here at home and grow the domestic market.
Not a moment too soon, American pecan growers formed the federal marketing order to allow for more domestic and export marketing. While exports had been growing substantially, work began on the home front to market to Americans, and now in the face of an ongoing trade war, the domestic pecan demand is the major engine for growth so far this year.
While exports had led the market growth for many years, domestic consumption is now picking up the slack during the trade war with China, what used to be American pecans biggest market. When we look at year over year growth for the pecan industry we see that overall pecan shipments have actually increased 3% even during the trade war that has all but shut down shipments to China.
Export shipments have fallen 25.3% YTD when compared to the same time season, while domestic shipments have increased 16% carrying the overall shipments to positive territory of 2.9%. The corona virus and the global shutdown of economies is expected to show up in the next months data, however with future commitments to ship still surging, the expected drop in shipments may only be temporary, if realized.