Arizona Pecan Farmers Grew Record 2017 Crop, Eye Possible New Tariffs

By Casey Kuhn
Published: Thursday, July 5, 2018 - 5:05am
Updated: Thursday, July 5, 2018 - 9:37am
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Carrie Jung/KJZZ
Pecan harvest season typically lasts from November through January.

2017 broke yet another record for pecan growers in Arizona. 

Arizona farmers harvested 28 million pounds of pecans in 2017. That’s 13 percent more than the year before.

These nuts have been fetching high prices on the local and international markets. China imports its pecans which has helped raise the pecan price.

Arizona’s pecans were worth a total of about $70 million last year.

China imposes a 7 percent tariff on pecans and all American nuts and now the country is threatening to raise that up to 22 percent.

Greg Fonsah is an agriculture economics professor at the University of Georgia.

“What’s going to happen to the excess? The excess is going to float in the American market," Fonsah said. "So it’s going to dampen the market and the prices are gonna go down.”

Whether Arizona pecans end up in China or not, the depressed pecan prices would hurt growers here too.

“It’s true that we might start looking for new markets," Fonsah said. "If we look for new markets, we don’t know how much quantity they’re going to take, so we’re going to have excess in the U.S.”

Fonsah says about half of America’s pecans go to China, and the other half hasn’t been enough to upset the local market, yet.

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