The prices from the past year made us realize we definitely have a need for the pecan industry to become united. The relationship between pecan shellers and growers has not always been positive. In fact many growers are at the mercy of the shellers when it comes to the prices they receive for their pecans. With a limited number of shellers, the shellers typically have the upper hand and are able control the pecan market. However, a couple of years ago some growers took control and started marketing pecans to China. This generated an increased interest in pecans by the Chinese moving some of the control away from the shellers. After the Chinese market really took off, the buyers started going directly to growers and by passing the shellers. During this time the National Pecan Growers Council (NPGC) started working on receiving funding from the USDA-FAS for international promotion of pecans. In 2011, NPGC received funds and started promotional work in Canada, India and China. This effort was called US Pecans. The US Pecans team was made up of representatives from Georgia, Texas and New Mexico. These representatives made numerous trips internationally promoting pecans at food shows and directly to some of the largest importers of nuts in these counties. After seeing the success of the US Pecans missions, the shellers started participating in these missions. It was critical that the shellers and growers work together to increase the international market of pecans. The National Pecan Growers Council and the National Pecan Shellers Association agreed to work together to promote pecans internationally.
Therefore, a new organization was started in 2013 with representatives from both the shellers and growers. This new organization is the US Pecan Council. The US Pecan Council Board is made up of a grower, a sheller and a grower-sheller from three pecan regions. The three regions are the southeast (Florida, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina), central (Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas and Missouri) and the western region (New Mexico, Arizona and California). According to the by-laws of the US Pecan Council there can only be two representatives from one state. The representatives for the central region are Mike Adams (grower), Dan York (sheller) and Scott Landgraf (grower-sheller). The US Pecan Council will take over the responsibility of the US Pecan team for these international promotion missions. Many people thought that the growers and shellers would never work together, but if this industry plans to continue to move forward, everyone that is involved in producing and processing pecans will have to work together. This collaborative effort will be a positive step for the pecan industry. If you would like more information feel free to contact me.