The American Pecan Council on behalf of the Pecan shellers have proposed a new set of grading standards for pecans in the US. The changes were originally proposed in early 2022, the USDA required the APC to allow for public comments and in June of 2022 the proposed changes were published to the federal register.
After a period of commenting from concerned parties changes were made and discussions about the new standards received multiple changes. The USDA has again published the new set of rules based on previous comments.
The new set of standards would classify in-shell pecans in four categories, revise scoring guides for defects, create new sizes, and revise definitions for the grading and classification of pecans. Currently in-shell pecans are categorized into 2 categories and shelled pecans are classified into 6 size categories.
The changes are proposed to update the standards to allow for better classification of pecans, however I find it concerning that no one has done a study as to the effects of the proposed reclassification. Maybe the study has been done but nothing has been shared with the pecan industry if it exists.
The former administration of the APC and APPB spent more time hiding information than actually communicating with growers. For example we could have quickly done some forecasting to see what classification the US pecan crop falls into based on these new standards, but that would require listening to and communicating with others in the industry.
I am hopeful that the new standards will be positive for the pecan industry as a whole and more importantly for the several thousand pecan growers across the US who had nearly no input into these changes.
To find the proposed changes and make comments, interested parties can go to the federal register at https://www.regulations.gov/document/AMS-SC-21-0039-0039 or click the links below.