Calif. Pecan Growers Gather to Discuss Federal Marketing Order
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director
On Wednesday, August 3, nearly 100 people attended the California Pecan Growers Association meeting at Linwood Nursery, the oldest supplier of pecan trees in the world, located in Le Grand in eastern Merced County.
Not all attendees were current pecan growers; many were contemplating planting pecan trees. New interest and excitement in pecan farming surrounds the newly approved (May 2016) and forthcoming Federal Marketing Order For Pecans (FMO) that will assess growers a few cents per pound to increase pecan marketing and awareness in California and other areas of the country.
“We want to model it after the Almond Board of California,” said Mark Hendrixson, president of the California Pecan Growers Association, whose members farm approximately 4,000 acres of the crop throughout the San Joaquin and Sacramento Valleys.
“We had a very a good turnout. Pecans are a growing industry in California; we have great weather for them,” said Hendrixson. “We do things a little bit differently because of our great weather, but we’re able to produce extremely good quality.”
“Pecans are extremely healthy,” said Hendrixson. “The research has been out there for quite some time, but the pecan industry has never had a unified marketing voice. Once we develop the Federal Marketing Order, we will be able to spread the message about health and other great benefits that will help drive interest in pecans and pecan consumption, and to deliver quality product to consumers around the world.
Hendrixson expects the Federal Marketing Order For Pecans to be in place very soon. The USDA will officially seat the Board of the American Pecan Council (APC), the new governing board of the FMO, by October 1, 2016 by calling for board member nominations, qualifying the candidates and issuing a ballot for qualified voters to vote on those nominations.
“Once those ballots are approved by the Secretary of Agriculture,” Hendrixson said, “we’ll have an elected Board that can begin to function and actually set the assessment, which in turn will be approved by the USDA going forward.”