The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has resumed publication of its seasonal pecan reports. The reports contain a vast array of information collected by AMS employees based in offices in various locations across the country.
Among the data collection, the AMS reports on the amount of pecans crossing the border from Mexico into the US. The reports show daily quantities as well as yearly totals for the quantity of shelled pecans and in-shell pecans crossing the border into the US. Northern Mexico is a large producer of pecans just like the southern US, and many of the pecans are imported by American shelling companies as an alternative to American pecans.
The yearly totals of pecans being imported from Mexico have been on the rise for several years. Since the US pecan growers began foreign marketing activities to grow the market for pecans, the shelling industry has been increasing imports from Mexico at increasing rates. Over the past decade pecan imports from Mexico have been on the rise with 2018 seeing the biggest jump of just over 25% from the prior year, with 293 million pounds of pecans crossing the border from Mexico into the US.
The quantity of pecans being imported has been a concern of American pecan growers for some time as pecans can be grown significantly cheaper in Mexico compared to the US making the price of Mexican pecans more attractive to US shellers. Currently Mexican pecan growers can grow and sell pecans at a price much lower than their American counterparts. While the US is currently the largest consumer of pecans Mexico enjoys free trade with the US and can sell their pecans in the profitable US market without import tariffs.
The US pecan growers have proposed a research and promotion board that would allow them to assess pecan imports at $0.02 per in-shell pound or $0.04 per pound for shelled pecans entering the US from a foreign country. This newly proposed board would give growers more money to market pecans around the globe as well as perform research project aimed at the benefits of pecans.
As the global pecan industry grows growers in the US will have to find new ways to compete in the global market and continue to increase production to keep up with demand.