Back to July 2023

Industry Updates from the APC and APPB

American Pecan Council and American Pecan Promotion Board provide updates on current activities, Committee meetings, and more. Both programs have approved a single executive search firm. The headhunter has posted the job description for the position, and calls have gone out to potential applicants. It is anticipated that the position will be filled by September. There will be more details to come as information becomes available.  

American Pecan Promotion Board 

The ballots for candidates of the West, one vacancy for the Central and Importer seats have been received, tabulated, and now go to the industry for background information before they go to the Secretary of Agriculture for selection. Many thanks to those that participated in the election. It is anticipated that the process could take up to six months for selection. 

Additionally, the Order is written to have elections every year. This means the Central representative and several importers will be up for the fiscal year 2023-2024 elections. The Board office will notify the industry when nominations begin. Please reach out to us if you have any questions regarding the election process. 

Note: Growers and Importers vote. Please ensure you are registered with the APPB Office and your assessments have been paid; otherwise, you will not be eligible for voting. 

The American Pecan Promotion Board’s annual financial audit is also currently being conducted. Confirmations have been set, and the office is still waiting to receive them back. Management has had to go to great lengths to gather the appropriate and correct information to confirm assessment collections in accordance with GAP guidelines.  

As for marketing, the APPB Marketing Committee will hold a meeting in mid-July to discuss the 23/24 budget. The APPB has continued to market per the annual plan. Weber Shandwick kicked off their second Tentpole event of the year centered around snack mixes using pecans. A Tentpole event is a large-scale event that naturally draws attention and allows current and prospective customers to rally around the product. The pecan team at Weber Shandwick is currently planning for the third Tentpole event, focusing on plant-based tacos; updates will follow along with the Snack Mix promotion. The B2B Innovation Guide is going through final rounds of completion and will be provided to the Board for review. 

Digital Magnet continues to execute per the plan approved by the Board by marketing in the eight regions and obtaining high awareness levels in each. Marketing has been focused on heart health and lifestyle diet snacking. On average, the campaign has been obtaining 12 to 15 million impressions each month within the eight regions exceeding the goal of 10 million. This advertising will continue through August.  

On the research front, both the Mexican Consumer and Chopped Pecan studies are in full swing, with surveys currently being conducted in the consumer, processor, and retail spaces. Both studies will be completed by the July Board meeting. Lastly, a Request for Proposals has been posted to find marketing representation in Mexico. Proposals will be reviewed during the July Committee meeting. 

The Research Committee also continues its literature review for pecan research. Alexis Ard, the University of Georgia, and the new Librarian Project Manager, Kara, have been working to obtain all the pecan studies. Additionally, the website now has live links to the studies and will continue to be updated. All research must go through USDA for approval before being posted per category and sub-category on the website. 

American Pecan Council (APC)  

As for the American Pecan Council, the APC Management has begun answering the ten points of justification for combining the sheller regions into at-large positions. The purpose of this change is because of the difficulty of filling vacancies for shellers in each region. This will continue to take time to answer, review, and provide the necessary feedback for consideration. 

APC has been in financial audits, a mandatory annual process conducted by a third-party auditing company. We are looking to wrap up the audit soon. The results of this audit are expected to be presented at the July Zoom Council meeting. 

APC attended the annual Commodity Roundtable meeting in Miami in May. This meeting provided an opportunity to meet with other FMOs and R&P programs and with Bruce Summers with the Ag Marketing Service. USDA made it clear that with next year being a presidential election year, items will be slower than usual. Getting any election, referendum, Order changes, or approvals to USDA no later than March or April of next year is essential to get them approved before the beginning of the fiscal year. A total of 14 Executive Directors and “number two” positions within the ag commodity programs are open. This is due to several Executive Directors stepping down for retirement or transitioning. 

The APC International Committee met on June 9 to select in-country marketing representation for India and the United Kingdom. The APC believes it’s vital to continue developing new markets, and India and the UK have been recognized in past research as best-case opportunities for growth.  

During its June meeting, the International Committee discussed and reviewed proposals, and selected firms for each country. Marketing activities will begin once the contracts are approved by USDA. A huge thank you to USDA’s Foreign Ag Service for allowing the APC to grow internationally.

APC attended the INC (International Nut & Dried Fruit Council) convention in London. After the conference, APC presented to several buyers about the availability of pecans and public Council information. Once the new UK representatives join the APC, these relationships will be able to expand and unite to educate consumers about pecans. 

The APC Marketing Committee also met in June to discuss recent activities and to start looking at the budget for the fiscal year 2023/2024. AspireIQ continues to perform well; in April, we invested $19,800 on influencing, resulting in $101,500 in media value—over a 5 to 1 ROI (Return on Investment). This investment also obtained 1.3 million views. Per AspireIQ, we are achieving engagement levels above what some of their largest clients receive through retail companies. 

Georgia pecan grower Justin Jones and APC’s Alexis Ard attended the Today’s Dietician Symposium in Savannah, Georgia, alongside our nutritional relations firm Eat Well Global. The team engaged with various health professionals, including many in the diabetes space. Over 10,000 health professionals attended the event, and the APC was a lead sponsor.  

Handler audits on the APC side continue as it is a mandated annual procedure to ensure reporting and data accuracy. APC publishes monthly industry data that includes handler end-of-month inventory, shipments, receipts, imports, exports, and product shelled in Mexico and returned to the United States. This data is mandatory for handlers to submit per the Order.   

The USDA met with industry members on May 3 to review more comments about the proposed inshell and shelled Grades & Standards presented during the public comment period. Because of the substantial changes, this proposal must go out to the industry for further review. We have not received information on when these rules will be published. Comments must be submitted by the industry once the new proposal is released. 

On another note, the Council has placed the voluntary Quality Assurance Program on hold until the industry decides to move forward with pilot projects or meet to discuss how to alter the program more. It should be noted that several of the presentations at the INC (International Nut & Dried Fruit Council) highlighted sustainability programs. It is the buzzword of the day and continues to be a push by buyers.

APC representatives are also presenting at state, regional, and national association meetings throughout this summer, updating the industry on each program. We love to hear from and meet everyone!

Author Photo

American Pecan Promotion Board & American Pecan Council

The pecan Research & Promotion program operates as the American Pecan Promotion Board. The board’s assessments are used for promotion, research, and industry information projects to help increase the demand for pecans. The American Pecan Council (APC) is a group of pecan growers and shellers who are dedicated to growing, harvesting, and processing America’s native nut. Founded in 2016 through a Federal Marketing Order, the APC’s mission is to promote the many benefits of the American Pecan and help tell its story. With oversight by the USDA, APC aims to build consumer demand, develop markets and establish industry standards. APC is based in Fort Worth, Texas, and funded by pecan handlers in 15 pecan-producing states. To learn more visit