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Grower Co-Op Talks Progressing

Pecan growers in North America are feeling the effects of a sheller dominated market after having trade with Chinese buyers set back by the trade war and the imposed tariffs for pecans. While spot market pecan prices have dropped to 5 year lows, and in some cases even more, the futures market looks to be much more healthy and stable. “We’ve gotta stop trying to sell an unfinished product” says one middle Texas grower, “80% of pecans are purchased out of the shell.” What he is referring to is the way that pecan growers currently sell pecans. With the exception of a few, most pecan growers in the US grow their pecans, run them through the cleaning plant and pack them in 2,000 lb super sacks in-shell, and then put them out for bid. The major problem with this model is that the grower eliminates 99% of buyers with this method, leaving only a few pecan shellers who will purchase the in-shell pecans. “We’ve got to start selling the meats; putting the sheller in between us and our customers ain’t working.” “We gotta handle the product all the way to the buyer.” “We don’t let our cleaning plant control the product, we don’t let our harvest crews form a union and control the pecan harvest, and we shouldn’t let the shelling plants do it either.” “We’re going to handle our own marketing, and stop leaving it to a middle mad to decide how much we get paid.” Talks of grower owned pecan co-op’s are making way for more farmers to get involved and join. “We want all pecan growers to either join one or form one [co-op], but please stop giving your pecans to shellers for next to nothing, it hurts all of us.”