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Shellers Propose Changes to Pecan Grading Standards

The American Pecan Council voted unanimously to submit proposed changes to the grades of pecans both in-shell and shelled to the USDA’s AMS office for consideration. 


In June of 2020 the American Pecan Council petitioned the AMS to revise the standards for grades of pecan in-shell and shelled, noting that the grading standards have not been substantially updated since 1969. 


The Shellers organization headed up the proposed changes and submitted the revisions to the American Pecan Council who then voted unanimously to submit the proposed changes to the USDA’s AMS. 


“ The proposed changes to the Standards would replace current grades with new ones, revise scoring guides for defects, create new sizes, and revise definitions. 


AMS proposes to revise the U.S. Standards for Grades of Pecans in the Shell and the U.S. Standards for Grades of Shelled Pecans by replacing the current grades with 

  • U.S. Extra Fancy
  • U.S. Fancy
  • U.S. Choice
  • U.S. Standard grades. 


The two current grades for pecans in the shell are 

  • U.S. No. 1 
  • U.S. No. 2. 


The six current grades for shelled pecans are 

  • U.S. No. 1 Halves
  • U.S. No. 1 Halves and Pieces
  • U.S. No. 1 Pieces
  • U.S. Commercial Halves
  • U.S. Commercial Halves and Pieces
  • U.S. Commercial Pieces


The proposed revisions do not affect Marketing Order 986 or applicable imports since there are no grade, size, or quality standards currently applied under the marketing order. “


The proposed changes to the grades and size classifications of pecans have been submitted for public comment. Growers, handlers, shellers, and buyers are encouraged to view the proposed changes and make comments based on concerns you may have or in favor of the proposed changes. The window for commenting is currently set to close on August 1, 2022, all comments are encouraged to be posted before August 1st. 


To view the proposed changes, use the links below. You can view and download the changes via the pdf document here, however comments must be made on the Regulations.gov website, link is listed below.