Texoma Pecan Growers Trying To Keep Up With International Demand

The pecan harvest is just getting underway and with Texoma sitting on the edge of the Pecan Belt, that means local growers are hard at work.

Newschannel 6 Lindsey Rogers found out even though this year is expected to be an above average crop, thanks to international interest, our supply may have a hard time keeping up.

Texas agricultural economists claim the pecan industry is at a crossroads.

The challenge is how to meet the increase in demand from overseas while continuing to provide enough pecans for us here in the states.

The main increase is coming from China, they entered the pecan market about three years ago and are having a major impact.

"It went from a couple million to a hundred million pounds a year. They just doubled their demand every year," Texoma pecan grower Tim Montz said.

Montz sells most of his higher quality pecans at his family store in Wichita Falls, The Pecan Shed, and other retailers in surrounding states.

But, last year, for the first time, he sold about a fourth of his crop to China.

He said their growing interest is all part of a recent social fad.

"Where we sit around and eat chips and hot sauce, they like to shell out nuts. Pecans and Walnuts, it's kind of a social thing,"Montz said.

He said India is also starting to enter the pecan market and if the country buys half as much as China, more orchards are going to have to be planted.

"The overall outlook for the pecan industry looks strong next several years," Montz said, "It's helped the growers and made price better and stronger for growers. So, it's been a big help as far as price goes," he continued.

But, while the prices for growers are good, it may mean just the opposite for us.

Montz said they haven't had to raise prices at their store yet, but, that doesn't mean we won't see slight increases at other retailers.

Pecan harvest started earlier this month and weather permitting, will wrap up by the end of January.

In a good year, Montz said his 800 acre orchard will produce more than a million pounds.

Lindsey Rogers, Newschannel 6