U.S. House Ag Committee Hosts Farm Bill Listening Session in Waco
Chairman Glenn "GT" Thomson of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture invites the public to a Farm Bill Listening Session in Waco, Texas, on March 15. The session starts at 2 p.m. at the Extraco Events Center in Waco. Anyone interested in attending and offering comments is invited.
Click here to register ahead of time. Please note, signing up in advance does NOT guarantee you or someone from your organization an opportunity to speak. This listening session is open to the public, and officials will do their best to accommodate all speaking requests.
Meeting to Discuss U.S. Standards for Grades of Inshell and Shelled Pecans
The American Pecan Council shared a message Thursday, Feb. 23, inviting industry members to a Zoom meeting held by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, Specialty Crop Inspection (SCI) Division for a discussion on pecans. SCI is seeking clarification on several areas in the proposed pecan standards based on the feedback USDA received during the comment period.
USDA issued the original proposed standards on June 1, 2022, but these standards did not align with the proposal submitted by the industry in 2019. However, USDA published two Revised Discussion Drafts on June 28, 2022, that were more in line with the industry's proposal.
The National Pecan Shellers Association, American Pecan Council and National Pecan Federation reviewed the proposed standards and submitted comments to USDA supporting the Revised Discussion Drafts with minor changes.
"Due to the complexity of these revisions, we want to provide an opportunity to meet and clarify language in specific sections of the proposed standards to ensure there is no misunderstanding on how any proposed language would be applied before we move forward with rulemaking," USDA AMS wrote in the invitation.
- When: Feb 28, 2023, at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time (US and Canada)
- Register in advance for this meeting here.
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Click here to see the topics and questions that will be addressed during this meeting.
Following Sen. Ossoff’s Months-Long Push, India Cuts Tariffs on U.S. Pecan Exports by 70% in Major Win for Georgia Farmers
Sen. Ossoff met seven times during the last year with India’s Ambassador to the United States and personally led a trade mission to India
Georgia produces about one-third of all American pecans
Washington, D.C. — Today, following Sen. Ossoff’s push, the Republic of India announced a major 70% cut to tariffs on U.S. pecan exports, a big win for Georgia farmers.
At the request of Georgia farmers, Sen. Ossoff has worked behind the scenes for months with U.S. trade negotiators and Indian government officials to open the Indian market for Georgia pecan growers.
“This is a huge win for Georgia pecan farmers, and it wouldn’t be possible without them,” said Sen. Ossoff. “India’s high pecan tariffs have prevented Georgia pecan exports to this market of more than one billion consumers. Today I can announce that after a year of painstaking diplomacy, the Indian government will cut that tariff by 70%. I thank U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai for her steadfast support, Indian Ambassador Sandhu for his constructive engagement, Senator Warnock for his teamwork, and Georgia’s farmers for their perseverance to secure this victory.”
Sen. Ossoff met seven times with India’s Ambassador to the U.S., Taranjit Singh Sandhu, over the last year, and the two agreed to work together to make improvements to the U.S.-India trade relationship.
Sen. Ossoff met last year with Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Sarah Bianchi, who agreed at his urging to put reducing India’s high pecan tariffs at the top of the U.S.-India trade agenda.
In August 2022, Sen. Ossoff personally led an economic delegation to the Republic of India to meet with key business and government leaders and continue urging for a reduction in tariffs.
Last month, Sen. Ossoff brought U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai and the U.S. Chief Agriculture Negotiator Doug McKalip to Georgia to meet with farmers and representatives of the main agricultural industries in the state, where they briefed leaders on efforts to find a reduction in India’s high tariff.
Sen. Ossoff heard about the concerns during engagements last year with Georgia pecan farmers in Tift and Turner counties.
2022 Census of Agriculture due next week Feb. 6
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) reminds our nation’s farmers and ranchers that the deadline to respond to the 2022 Census of Agriculture is Feb. 6. Producers can respond online at agcounts.usda.gov or by mail.
Learn more about completing the Census of Agriculture here.
USTR Tai Discusses Pecan Trade Issues at Ag Roundtable
National Pecan Federation (NPF) Executive Board Member Marianne Brown recently attended a roundtable discussion with U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Ambassador Katherine Tai and U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA). Also attending was newly sworn-in USTR AG Ambassador Doug McKalip. At the event, Georgia commodity leaders were given the opportunity to voice their concerns and priorities as they relate to global markets and agricultural trade.
Marianne Brown, a pecan grower from Leesburg, Georgia, represented the National Pecan Federation at the roundtable, discussing the important issue of U.S. pecan exports to India. She shared her experience representing the industry here.
NMSDC Announces First Cohort of Black Farmers Equity Initiative
NEW YORK—The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) is excited to announce the first cohort of the Black Farmers Equity Initiative. The joint venture from NMSDC and Cargill is aimed at advancing agricultural supply chain access for Black farmers. This collaborative initiative aims to create a pathway for emerging Black farmers to achieve parity in the agriculture industry with learning solutions, certification, lending, networking, and new contracts. The 11 members of the first cohort are:
- Richard Francis aka Farmer Chippy – Francis owns Plantation Park Heights Urban Farm. Its main commodities are pepper and herbs, and it is located on five acres of land in Maryland.
- Antron Williams—Williams owns Mahogany Farms LLC. Its main commodities are corn, cotton, soybeans, and wheat, and it is located on 550 acres of land in South Carolina.
- Sidney and Shane Lovelace—The Lovelaces (father and son) own Lovelace Farms. Its main commodities are cows and hay, and it is located on 150 acres of land in Kentucky.
- D. Spencer Riley—Riley owns Orgaceutical. Its main commodities are leafy vegetables and microgreens, and it is located on five acres of land in Pennsylvania.
- Michael Rollen—Rollen owns Ophelia's Blue Vine Farm. Its main commodities are herbs and spices and is located on one acre of land in Missouri.
- Kimberly Ratcliff—Ratcliff owns Caney Creek Ranch and Farm to Freezer Meat Company. Its main commodities are Charbray cattle and feed resources, and it is located on 2500 acres of land in Texas.
- Cherie Jzar—Jzar owns Deep Roots. Its main commodities are vegetables, flowers, fruits, berries, herbs, apiaries, and animals, and it is located on seven acres of land in North Carolina.
- Harold Singletary—Singletary owns BrightMa Farms. Its main commodity is hemp, and it is located on 96 acres of land in South Carolina.
- Immanuel Jarvis—Jarvis owns Jireh Family Farm. Its main commodities are permaculture pigs, rabbits, goats, and meat chickens and it is located on four acres of land in North Carolina.
- Dr. Michael Lloyd—Lloyd owns Num Num Sauce Farms. Its main commodity is tomatoes, and it is located on two acres of land in Georgia.
- James E Davis, Jr.—Davis owns Bales and Bushels. Its main commodity is cotton, and it is located on 12 acres of land in Louisiana.
“Increasing the numbers of Black farmers in the U.S. agricultural industry is an essential part of achieving NMSDC’s mission of eliminating the racial wealth gap within the next 50 years. We are excited to work with these incredible farmers as they grow their businesses, build generational wealth, and provide much-needed resilience to our nation’s agricultural supply chain,” said Jetheda Hernandez, senior director, strategic alliances and programming at NMSDC.
Members from the first cohort of the Black Farmers Equity Initiative will complete an eight-week learning curriculum focused on growing their capacity to take on major national contracts with NMSDC’s corporate members. Members will also receive strategic business support including complimentary NMSDC certification.
Founded in 1972, NMSDC is the longest-operating business growth engine for the broadest group of systematically excluded communities of color (Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, Black, Hispanic, and Native American), and our impact goes far beyond the supply chain. It’s about upward mobility for the emerging majority of Americans, an equal shot at participating in the American experiment of free-market capitalism and entrepreneurship. Our work is about correcting the unequal access to wealth-building opportunities. For more information, please visit nmsdc.org.
USDA ARS Announces New Administrator
The USDA Agricultural Research Services announced on Jan. 4 the appointment of Dr. Simon Y. Liu as Administrator of the Agricultural Research Service, effective immediately. Dr. Liu has served as Acting Administrator since June of last year, and prior to that served as Associate Administrator for Research Management and Operations since February 2015.<\p>
Dr. Liu joined ARS as Director of the U.S. National Agricultural Library (NAL), which serves as the central library for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is one of the four National Libraries of the United States. NAL is the world's largest and most accessible research library specializing in agriculture. Before joining USDA, he served as Associate Director of the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) and Director of the NLM Computer and Communications System. Prior to his service at NLM, he held leadership positions with the U.S. Departments of Justice and Treasury, following work in the private sector where he led information system development and space mission studies to support NASA space missions and operations.
Dr. Liu attended university in his native Taiwan and pursued graduate studies in the United States, where he earned Master's degrees in Computer Science, Business Administration, and Government from Indiana University, the University of Maryland, and Johns Hopkins University. He has earned two doctoral degrees: an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration and a Ph.D. in Computer Science from George Washington University. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member with graduate school appointments at several of these institutions. Dr. Liu is active in professional societies and associations and has served as the Editor-in-Chief of an information technology magazine and editor of four journals in the past 20 years. He has published a book and more than 80 book chapters, journal articles, and conference papers.
“We are fortunate to have Dr. Liu in this important leadership position,” said Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young, Under Secretary, Research, Education & Economics, and USDA Chief Scientist. “His dedication to excellence and innovation in both program and administration will continue to serve ARS well as a premier scientific organization. My thanks to Dr. Steve Kappes, Mr. Joon Park, Ms. Jill Stetka and others in the ARS senior leadership team during this time of transition.”
Pecans Grown in Multiple States; Request for Extension and Revision of a Currently Approved Information Collection
In a notice to the U.S. Federal Register on Nov. 18, 2022, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service announces its intention to request "an extension for and revision to a currently approved information collection for Pecans Grown in the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas, Marketing Order No. 986."
The public is invited and encouraged to submit comments on this proposed extension and revision Comments must be submitted on or before Jan. 17, 2023.
Learn more about this proposal here. The public can access the complete notice and submit formal comments here on the U.S. Federal Register.
Opportunity for Public Comment on the Inflation Reduction Act
On Aug. 12, 2022, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law. It provides investment and opportunity for the agricultural communities USDA serves. The IRA provides additional funding levels for several programs which the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) currently implements. Increased funding levels will begin in fiscal year 2023 and build over four years.
Agriculture is at the forefront of efforts to address climate change. NRCS will use the investments provided by the IRA to support farmers and ranchers adopt and expand climate-smart activities and systems through conservation programs. NRCS is asking for comments and feedback on how to target program benefits, quantify impact, and improve program delivery and outreach, especially for underserved producers. We are looking for quick implementation opportunities for FY23 and then longer term improvements/ changes that can be made in FY24 and beyond.
In particular, we are looking for input on the following:
- how to best maximize benefits for climate mitigation, including targeting practices and programs that provide quantifiable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions;
- strategies and recommendations on how to maximize, target, monitor, and quantify improvements to soil carbon, reductions in nitrogen losses, and the reduction, capture, avoidance, or sequestration of carbon dioxide, methane, or nitrous oxide emissions associated with agricultural production; and
- ideas for how to further streamline and improve program delivery to increase efficiencies and expand program access for producers, especially underserved producers.
More details are available in this Federal Register notice. Public comments will be accepted until De. 22, 2022, and can be submitted to NRCS.IRA.Input@usda.gov.
Texas Pecan Short Course Registration Now Open
Registration for the 59th class of the Texas Pecan Short Course is now open. Hosted by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, the upcoming Texas Pecan Short Course will take place from Jan. 23 to 26, 2023. Seats are limited, and registration is available on a first-come-first-served basis. Attendees can find more information and register online here.
This weekly educational program guides prospective pecan growers through the planning, development, business considerations, and annual crop production facets of commercial pecan production. Over four full days, the class encompasses both classroom teaching and hands-on demonstrations of harvest and spray equipment, tree planting, training, pruning, and grafting.
The class is taught at the Department of Horticultural Sciences Horticulture Teaching, Research, & Extension Center, near Snook, Texas, and in close proximity to the TAMU Pecan Orchard, a 56-acre working pecan orchard directed by Dr. Monte Nesbitt, coordinator of the short course. This comprehensive course is known and respected throughout the pecan industry as a foundational training course for new pecan growers.
International Experts Recommend Nuts and Dried Fruits as Part of a Healthy Diet
The International Nut and Dried Fruit Council hosted a historic meeting of global health researchers, where diabetes was defined as a key topic for investigation.
From October 20-21, 2022, the world’s leading researchers gathered for NUTS 2022 to discuss the current and future of health research on nuts and dried fruits. NUTS 2022 was a historic gathering of the brightest minds in the field of nutrition research on nuts and dried fruits. Twenty-five researchers and professors from universities in Europe, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Iran, Türkiye, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America summarized the latest evidence related to the health benefits of nuts and dried fruits, and then discussed and defined gaps, new topics, needs, and opportunities in research for the future. Read more here.
Remembering Billy Jim Pollard of Texas Pecan Nursery
With a heavy heart and deep condolences, Pecan South announces the passing of Billy Jim Pollard, the president of Texas Pecan Nursery, Inc. He passed on Oct. 12, 2022. Read more about Mr. Pollard's life in his obituary.
Funeral services will be held on Monday, Oct. 17, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. at the First Methodist Church of Chandler on 507 N. Broad St. in Chandler, Texas. Visitation will be from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. at the church before the service. Texas Pecan Nursery, Inc. will be closed Monday, and the Pollard family invites all who wish to attend the funeral to please do so.
FDA Releases a Proposed Update to Define “Healthy”
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on Sept. 28, 2022, that it is updating the definition for the content claim "healthy" on food packages to be more consistent with current nutrition science and Federal dietary guidelines. According to industry representatives, the updated version is very positive for nuts. However, FDA is seeking comments on whether nuts with a higher saturated fat content may claim the "healthy" title.
In 1994, the FDA established Federal dietary guidelines. Over time, research has been conducted on nuts showing more and more health benefits. As a result, the FDA is revising the healthy definition. The latest provides nuts and seeds to be considered healthy if equal to or less than 5% saturated fat.
Industry members are encouraged to comment on including pecans as part of the new healthy definition. The link to the federal register notice may be found here.
Tri-Agri Farm Center Invites the Industry to its 2022 Pecan Grower/Harvester Meeting
Tri-Agri Farm Center prepares to host its 2022 Pecan Grower/Harvester Meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at 6:00 p.m. at the Coleman Community Center in Coleman, Oklahoma. The meeting includes LMCAg harvester, Bergen pre-cleaner, and John Deere tractor demonstrations from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. at the Tri-Agri Farm Center, just up the road. Tri-Agri staff and the Hamilton family invite growers, harvesters, and anyone who is interested to attend, simply RSVP. More details can be found in this article.
Texas Pecan Board Schedules Election for 3 At-Large Members
Bryan, Texas—The Texas Pecan Board will hold elections Oct. 28, 2022, to elect three board members in adherence to Chapter 41 of the Texas Agriculture Code. The Board was established in 1998 after pecan growers throughout Texas voted into effect a pecan assessment of $0.005 per pound to provide funds for promotion, education, and research.
Candidates who wish to have their names placed on the ballot may obtain nomination forms from TPB Representative Meghan Mabry, the Texas Pecan Board, or your local county extension office. Nomination forms will be available after Sept. 1 and must be filed with the TPB Representative no later than Oct. 1, 2022. Nominations may be mailed to the Texas Pecan Board at PO Box 15889 College Station, TX 77841. Learn more about the nomination process and the upcoming election here.
Institute for Advancing Health Through Agriculture Hosts First Research Workshop
On Aug. 1 and 2, the Texas A&M AgriLife Institute for Advancing Health Through Agriculture, IHA, held its first workshop to engage stakeholders from the food-agriculture value chain. The workshop enabled production agriculture groups to further understand priorities, gaps, and opportunities in precision nutrition, responsive agriculture, and social and behavioral research.
Bringing together more than 50 people from over 30 different organizations representing commodities nationally and in Texas, the two-day event gave production agriculture groups an unprecedented opportunity to share and discuss their human nutrition research programs and priorities. The workshop was spearheaded by Elizabeth Parker, DVM, IHA interim associate director for responsive agriculture. Read the full article on this event here.
USDA to Issue First Pecan Forecast for 2022 Crop
ATHENS, GA – During the last week of September, pecan growers will receive a survey from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Information from this survey will be used to forecast pecan production for 2022.
This year producers will have the option to respond securely online via a Respondent Portal. Read more about the NASS forecast and coming survey here.
“Protecting Agriculture’s Future” theme for 2022 National Farm Safety and Health Week
Agriculture is known as one of the most dangerous industries in America. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), about 100 agricultural workers suffer a lost-work-time injury every day, and in 2019 the agriculture industry had a fatality rate of 19.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. National Farm Safety and Health Week has been recognized during the third week of September since President Roosevelt established it in 1944 to help bring attention to the risks of working in agriculture.
This year, AgriSafe has daily webinars for agricultural health and safety professionals, healthcare providers, extension agents, producers, farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers. Our partners at the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS) coined this year’s theme “Protecting Agriculture’s Future,” reminding all of us that the cornerstone of sustainable agriculture is healthy and safe workers. Each day will have its own theme. Learn more about these free webinars and National Farm Safety and Health Week here.
OSU hosts Native Pecan Harvest Field Day on Oct. 13
Interested in learning more about native pecan production and harvest? Join us for a late afternoon/evening field day under the trees. This family-friendly event is ideal for learning more about pecan production, asking questions, seeing harvest in action, and networking with other growers.
The Native Pecan Harvest Field Day will take place on Oct. 13, 2022, at Flying G Ranch, 8102 E 550 Rd, Claremore, Oklahoma. Check-in will begin at 2:30 p.m., and the Program starts at 3 p.m.
Find registration and learn more here.
In Memory of Donald Paul Mayo, owner of OMC
Pecan South remembers Donald “Don” Paul Mayo, owner of Orchard Machinery Corporation. Don, 78, of Live Oak, passed away peacefully surrounded by his family on Aug. 26, 2022. Don was born Feb. 16, 1944, in El Cajon, California, to Herb and Irene Mayo. Don was living a full life—traveling and enjoying business, family, and his hobbies. He was scheduled for a procedure to replace a heart valve when complications associated with his heart could not be overcome.
A celebration of life will be held on Sept. 10 at 12 p.m. at the OMC facility. Learn more about Don's life, joys, and work in his obituary published here on the Pecan South website.
USTR Rep. Tai responds to letter about India’s pecan tariffs
U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai on Aug. 16 responded to Senator Raphael Warnock's letter on India's tariffs on American pecans. In the letter, Ambassador Tai acknowledged the "economic importance of the Indian market to U.S. pecan growers and the challenges posed by these tariffs."
"As I prepare to chair a Trade Policy Forum Ministerial later this year alongside India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, USTR will continue working to achieve a positive outcome on this issue and other barriers affecting U.S. agricultural exports," Ambassador Tai wrote.
Read Ambassador Tai's full response here.
USDA AMS Extends Comment Period for Revised U.S. Grade Standards for Pecans
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service on Monday extended the comment period for the proposed rule published in the Federal Register in June by 30 days. The proposed rule invited comments on the proposed revisions to the U.S. Standards for Grades of Pecans in the Shell and U.S. Standards for Grades of Shelled Pecans.
Pecan industry members and the general public must now submit comments by Sept. 7, 2022. Read the full proposal and enter your comment here.
This extension comes after the AMS noted on June 28 that the proposed U.S. Standards for Grades failed to upload. On that same day, AMS addressed the issue and uploaded the supporting documents to the Federal Register. By extending the public comment period, AMS says it provides "all interested persons a full 60-day comment period to view copies of the proposed standards and facilitate review of the proposed rule."
USDA AMS adds additional documents to proposed revised U.S. Grade Standards
The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service added three additional grading documents to the proposed revised U.S. Standards for Grades of Pecans in the Shell and Shelled Pecans on the U.S. Federal Register.
Industry members are encouraged to review the new documents. Pecan South will provide more information soon for the comment period on the proposed rule.
Find and read the additional documents here.
25th Día del Nogalero set for Sept. 7-9 in Delicias, Mexico
Hosted by the Delicias Pecan Growers Association, the 25th Día del Nogalero will bring pecan growers and industry members together from Sept. 7 to 9 in Delicias, Chihuahua, Mexico, at the Centro Expo-Convenciones del Desierto.
The conference features educational seminars, a scientist breakfast, trade show and equipment demonstrations, dessert contest, a raffle, and more. Learn more about this event via the Día del Nogalero Facebook page.
National Pecan Federation hosts industry Forum at Texas Pecan Growers Conference
The National Pecan Federation (NPF) will host an industry Forum during the Texas Pecan Growers Association's Annual Conference in San Marcos, Texas, on July 10, from 2 to 4 p.m. The purpose of the Forum is for each organization to share updates about activities and future events. The NPF encourages all pecan organizations to participate with a ten-minute presentation/update.
Find more information about registration and attending the forum at the TPGA website. Also, please RSVP to Bob Redding at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sen. Ossoff meets with India’s Ambassador to the U.S., raises objection to high pecan tariffs
Washington, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff met with India’s Ambassador to the United States, Taranjit Singh Sandhu.
Meeting via video conference, Sen. Ossoff and Amb. Sandhu discussed opportunities to strengthen U.S.-India relations and issues of concern to the Indian diaspora in Georgia.
Responding to the needs of Georgia farmers, Sen. Ossoff also raised objections to India’s high tariffs on pecans, which are hurting Georgia farmers who export pecans to international markets.
Sen. Ossoff and Amb. Sandhu agreed to work together to make improvements to the U.S.-India trade relationship.
Earlier this month, Sen. Ossoff listened to Georgia pecan farmers in Tift and Turner counties who expressed concern about India’s high pecan tariffs. Georgia produces about one-third of all American pecans.
Sen. Ossoff continues his work to support Georgia farmers and growers. Last year, Sen. Ossoff secured a commitment from the President and Chair of the U.S. Export-Import Bank to help more Georgia pecan farmers sell their products around the world.
The National Pecan Federation has been working on the issue of Indian pecan tariffs for years. Earlier this year, pecan growers from across the country attended a "Walk the Hill" event where they met with members of Congress about these tariffs and other issues. Learn more about this effort here.
USDA Announces Texas Joins Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced it has signed a cooperative agreement with Texas under the Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program (LFPA). Utilizing LFPA funding, Texas will create a program that will foster in-state, long-term relationships and build sustainable market opportunities for state producers.
“USDA is excited to partner with Texas to promote economic opportunities for farmers and producers and to increase access to locally sourced, fresh, healthy, and nutritious food in underserved communities,” said USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “The Local Food Purchase Cooperative Agreement Program will improve food and agricultural supply-chain resiliency and increase local food consumption around the country.”
The Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA) will use LFPA funding to support small and underserved producers to increase the number of products distributed to underserved communities in the state. TDA plans to arrange food distribution to accommodate unique local challenges in order to serve communities and feeding programs.
Program funds will be administered through a competitive grant program serving food banks, nonprofits, and other social service organizations. Program staff will engage with subrecipients to foster sustainable new markets for purchasing state products, especially from underserved producers, and promote distribution to communities with limited access to fresh, local food.
The LFPA program is authorized by the American Rescue Plan to maintain and improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency. Through this program, USDA will award up to $400 million through non-competitive cooperative agreements with state and tribal governments to support local, regional, and socially underserved producers through the purchase of food produced within the state or within 400 miles of delivery destination.
More information about the program is available AMS’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Cooperative Agreement Program webpage.
USDA AMS proposes revised U.S. Grade Standards for shelled and inshell pecans
In a notice to the U.S. Federal Register on June 1, 2022, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service proposes to revise the U.S. Standards for Grades of Pecans in the Shell and the U.S. Standards for Grades of Shelled Pecans by replacing the current grades with U.S. Extra Fancy, U.S. Fancy, U.S. Choice, and U.S. Standard grades.
The public is invited and encouraged to submit comments on this proposed rule. Comments must be submitted on or before Aug. 1, 2022.
Read the complete proposed rule and submit formal comments here on the Federal Register.
Agricultural Export Programs Offer Excellent Returns, Deserve Continued Funding
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports welcomes the results of a recent econometric study indicating that public-private U.S. agricultural export market development programs remain highly effective and generate a substantial return on investment.
In letters sent April 27, 2022, members of the Coalition and additional organizations asked U.S. House and Senate agricultural appropriations subcommittee leadership to maintain funding of at least $200 million for the Market Access Program (MAP) and $34.5 million for the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program in FY2023. Citing strong competition for growing global food demand, the organizations said “these modest investments, paired with full private-sector cost share, are invaluable as we race to reclaim global export markets shut off during the pandemic and diversify markets amid war and geopolitical unrest.”
Read more here.
A New Hybrid Fungicide for Soybean, Rice and Pecan Disease Control
Durham, North Carolina—Summit Agro USA announces the introduction of Regev HBX hybrid fungicide. This unique formulation brings new disease fighting power to growers of soybeans, rice, and pecans.
“We recognized gaps in the performance of existing fungicides in these three crops, which led us to create this specially formulated hybrid product,” said Dr. Eric Tedford, R&D manager for Summit Agro.
“Regev HBX benefits from the combination of tea tree oil, a botanical ingredient, with a conventional fungicide (difenoconazole). This is why we call it a hybrid fungicide,” Dr. Tedford added.
Dr. Tedford cited trial data showing the effectiveness of Regev HBX against frogeye leaf spot and Asian soybean rust on soybeans. Since there are reports of widespread resistance to group 11 fungicides, it is recommended to rotate two to three effective classes of fungicides. Regev HBX is listed as FRAC BM 01 (tea tree oil) and FRAC 3 (difenoconazole).
For rice, similarly successful trials demonstrated the efficacy of Regev HBX against rice blast. Based on the trial data, pecan growers will be impressed by how well Regev HBX performs on pecan scab.
Through the combination of tea tree oil and difenoconazole, Regev HBX provides eight mechanisms of activity against fungal and bacterial plant pathogens to deliver remarkable disease control with only one MRL. Regev HBX provides significant value to soybean, rice, and pecan growers due to its preventative and curative activity, efficacy against a broad spectrum of bacterial and fungal diseases, and the ability to enhance plant growth and yield. These attributes make Regev HBX an important component in the disease management and control programs for these crops.
Regev HBX is exclusively available from Helena Agri-Enterprises and Tenkoz member companies.
More information on Regev HBX including performance data can be found at the Summit Agro website: SUMMITAGRO-USA.COM.
USDA to provide Approximately $6 Billion to commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by 2020, 2021 natural disasters
WASHINGTON, May 16, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disaster events in 2020 and 2021 will soon begin receiving emergency relief payments totaling approximately $6 billion through the Farm Service Agency’s (FSA) new Emergency Relief Program (ERP) to offset crop yield and value losses.
“For over two years, farmers and ranchers across the country have been hard hit by an ongoing pandemic coupled with more frequent and catastrophic natural disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “As the agriculture industry deals with new challenges and stressors, we at USDA look for opportunities to inject financial support back into the rural economy through direct payments to producers who bear the brunt of circumstances beyond their control. These emergency relief payments will help offset the significant crop losses due to major weather events in 2020 and 2021 and help ensure farming operations are viable this crop year, into the next growing season and beyond.”
Read the full press release here.
Dubai Set to Welcome the Nut and Dried Fruit Industry for the 39th INC Congress
May 4, 2022. Over 1,100 industry professionals from more than 60 countries will gather under one roof for the 39th World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress from May 11-13, 2022, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, organized by the International Nut & Dried Fruit Council (INC). Learn more here.
U.S. Pecan Industry’s Quality Assurance Program Open for Comment
Fort Worth, Texas—The American Pecan Council (APC) has released the draft of the voluntary Quality Assurance Program (QAP) for the U.S. pecan industry for public comment and will be collecting feedback through our QAP survey. Learn more in the full press release here.
Celebrate National Pecan Day with a Magazine Nutty for Pecans
Today, on National Pecan Day, we celebrate the only major tree nut native to America. In honor of pecans, the American pecan industry’s official trade magazine, Pecan South, is publishing a free consumer magazine all about pecans. Anyone can access this nutty magazine, called Pieces of Pecan, online at Pecan South’s website.
“This National Pecan Day, we’re bridging the great divide between pecan farmers and the average consumer while also celebrating America’s native nut in a fun and exciting way,” says Blair Krebs, Publisher of Pecan South and this special edition. “Pieces of Pecan shares our favorite nut with anyone interested in learning more about pecans.”
Published by the pecan industry’s official trade magazine, Pieces of Pecan is a 56-page special edition that features fresh recipes and an article on pecan’s health benefits, as well as a Q&A with chefs on pecans, a profile on a pecan farmer, and a photo essay exploring how pecans grow.
Pieces of Pecan is published annually and always available for free online as a digital download. Printed copies are also available for purchase.
“We hope that this magazine will help people connect with their food and farmers and serve as a source of inspiration for foodies and chefs,” Krebs says.
WPGA prepares for 2022 Conference and Trade Show
Western Pecan Growers Association will host its 2022 Conference and Trade Show from March 8 to 10 at the Las Cruces Convention Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico. More information and registration can be found online. According to WPGA, "The Equipment Trade Show will feature the latest innovative products, equipment, and professional services geared towards the pecan industry. The WPGA conference will feature a variety of seminars dedicated to the most recent updates from pecan state organizations within the western growing region, marketing updates, pecan research, pest and disease management." The WPGA Conference kicks off with a Cornhole Tournament at 1 p.m. on March 8 near the outdoor vendors' booths. After the tournament, attendees can head inside for a Welcome Reception, Beer Garden, and live music performance.
West Texas Pecan Association announces annual meeting
The West Texas Pecan Association (WTPA) invites pecan growers and industry members to its Annual Meeting on Friday, March 4, 2022. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. at Cattleman's Steakhouse in Fabens, Texas. WTPA requests that all attendees RSVP by Feb. 25 via email to email@example.com or by calling 915-526-8285.
The agenda for the WTPA 2022 Meeting includes electing two directors for four-year terms on the Board and electing two representative director positions for the Western Pecan Growers Association. The complete agenda is available upon request.
RKJ Equipment is sponsoring the meal and beverage at the WTPA 2022 Annual Meeting.
APC Grower and Sheller nominations open for 2022-2026 term
The American Pecan Council grower and sheller nominations for the 2022-2026 term seats officially opened on Feb. 16. With the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the APC is actively seeking nominations for Council members and alternates for seats whose terms are ending in 2022. The current seats open for elections are based on majority vote. Nominees with the greatest number of votes in either category and verified by USDA will be selected as members or alternates until all official positions have been elected.
In the notice released by the APC, the Council requests that those nominating Members use the form that represents their business—i.e., Growers nominate Growers, and Shellers nominate Shellers. The notice states, “If you are a Grower and a Sheller, you may only nominate an individual in one category (Grower or Sheller). If you return more than one form, all forms will be deemed invalid.”
Nominations for Council seats will be accepted through March 31, 2022. Find the APC's complete notice with nomination procedures here. Here is the Grower nomination form and the Sheller nomination form.
Ag Secretary addressed U.S. producers’ concerns on trade with China
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Thursday addressed U.S. producers’ concerns that China is continuing to fall short on its commitments to purchase U.S. agricultural goods.
“We obviously have some unfinished businesses with reference to phase one, and we continue to press China to increase their purchases,” Vilsack testified during a House Agriculture Committee hearing, referring to the U.S-China trade deal signed under the Trump administration.
Asked by Rep. Jim Costa (D-Calif.) about whether China is keeping up with its current commitments to buy U.S. agricultural goods, Vilsack replied, “No.”
The USDA chief said China was $13 billion behind on purchases. “And there are seven key areas where they have yet to perform,” he added, including on biotech approvals and ethanol tariffs.
Vilsack also said the USDA and Biden administration is continuing to work with China and Mexico to address ongoing trade disputes over U.S. corn exports and other issues.
He took the opportunity to tout a recent trade resolution with Canada over dairy products, which he said will benefit U.S. farmers.
What’s next: U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai is in talks with her Chinese counterpart in an effort to bring China into compliance with the deal.
President Joe Biden acknowledged on Wednesday during a press conference that many American businesses want to see tariffs on China eased, but such a step is “uncertain” because China still hasn’t fulfilled all of its commitments.
“I’d like to be able to be in a position where I could say they’re meeting the commitments, or more of the commitments, and be able to lift some of it. But we are not there yet,” he said.
U.S. Senate Finance Committee encourages U.S. Trade Representative to more aggressively enforce USMCA
Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee sent a letter to USTR Ambassador Tai to encourage more aggressive enforcement of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
In the letter, Senators Wyden and Crapo write, "The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement ("USMCA" or the "Agreement") has the potential to deliver tangible benefits for America's workers, farmers, and businesses by improving and strengthening the relationship between the United States and its two closest trading partners. However, that potential will not be realized without full implementation and enforcement of the Agreement as written."
The letter highlights several outstanding issues where the Senators say U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Tai must "ensure that the United States gets what it bargained for" and take action.
Read the full letter from Chairman Wyden and Ranking Member Crapo to USTR here.
Texas Pecan Short Course moved to February 2022
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service announced last week that it has rescheduled its 2022 Texas Pecan Short Course to Feb. 22-25 in Somerville, Texas. The Short Course was originally set for the last week of January, but due to concerns regarding the Omicron variant, the event has been pushed to the following month.
The Texas Pecan Short Course has a history that dates back to 1965 when it started as a week-long class for county extension agents who needed to gain practical training on pecan culture, grafting, pruning, fertilizer, and pest management. The annual program continues its tradition of being an "immersion class" for prospective pecan growers, new orchard managers, county agents, and horticulture students.More information and registration can be found here.
Southeastern Pecan Growers set to host 2022 meeting in February
The Southeastern Pecan Growers Association will gather on Feb. 25 and 26 for its 2022 Annual Convention and Trade Show at Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort in Miramar Beach, Florida. To register, visit sepga.com.
Texas A&M publishes new report on economic impact of higher fertilizer prices
Texas A&M University's Agricultural and Food Policy Center released an impact report in January 2022 that analyzes the economic impacts of higher fertilizer prices on the Center's 64 representative crops. The analysis comes in response to a request made by U.S. Representative Julia Letlow from the 5th District of Louisiana. Read the complete analysis from the AFPC here.
North Carolina Pecan Growers Association prepares for its Annual Meeting
The North Carolina Pecan Growers Association prepares to hold its Annual Meeting on Feb. 19, 2022, at the Southeastern Ag Center in Lumberton, North Carolina. Contact Stefani Skyes for more info at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-709-3179.
U.S. Trade Ambassador responds to House regarding India’s pecan tariffs
Ambassador Katherine Tai, the U.S. Trade Representative, responded in late December to the U.S. House Ag Appropriations Chairman Stanford Bishop regarding the tariff on U.S. pecan exports to India. In her letter, Ambassador Tai acknowledges that "the Indian market has significant potential for U.S. pecans." "In my discussions with India's Minister of Commerce and Industry Goyal, we have agreed to work constructively to resolve outstanding bilateral trade irritants — including agricultural issues," she writes. Read the U.S. Trade Representative's full response to Representative Bishop here.
Registration opens for the 2022 Texas Pecan Short Course
Texas AgriLife opened registration today for its 2022 Texas Pecan Short Course. The educational program celebrates its 58th year of offering a comprehensive weeklong course on establishing and managing a commercial pecan orchard. According to Texas AgriLife, "The course is designed for people with no previous experience in growing pecans. We cover all facets of pecan orchard management from basic tree anatomy and physiology to annual budget planning." The Texas Pecan Short Course will take place from Jan. 24 to the 27, 2022, at the Texas A&M HortTREC facility in Somerville, Texas. For more information and registration details, visit the Short Course webpage here.
FDA Takes Steps to Facilitate the Export of Food Under China’s New Facility Registration Requirements
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration provided a constituent update on Dec. 6, 2021, about China's new facility registration requirements. Within the update, FDA asks "establishments currently exporting certain food products to China to voluntarily submit information."
According to the update, China has yet to confirm that collecting this information is a prerequisite for goods and this request is a precaution against potential trade disruption. In April 2021, China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC) announced new registration requirements that affect all overseas food manufacturers, processors, and storage facilities of food products exported to China. These requirements are described in China’s Decree 248 and will be in effect on January 1, 2022.
Read the full update here.
AMS opens comment period for lower APC assessments
U.S. Federal Register published on Dec. 6, 2021, a proposed rule from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service that "would implement a recommendation from the American Pecan Council to decrease the assessment rate established for the 2021-22 and subsequent fiscal years." This proposed assessment rate remains in effect unless modified, suspended, or terminated.
This proposed rule follows a motion passed unanimously by the Council during its September 2021 meeting that recommended decreasing assessment rates "to reflect the reduction in expenditures, and to offset the assessments collected under the new [pecan research and promotion program]," overseen by the American Pecan Promotion Board. By decreasing assessments rates, the APC also avoided increasing the assessment burden on the industry.
According to the rule, "This proposal would decrease the assessment rates collected from handlers for the 2021-22 and subsequent fiscal years from $0.03 to $0.01 per pound of improved varieties and from $0.02 to $0.00 per pound of native and seedling varieties and for substandard pecans handled."
The full proposed rule can be found here in the Federal Register. Industry members and interested persons have until Jan. 5, 2022, to make comments on the proposed rule.
USDA FAS Releases MAP and FMD for FY22
Under the Market Access Program, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service will provide $175.6 million for fiscal year 2022 to 67 nonprofit organizations and cooperatives. Under the Foreign Market Development Program, FAS will allocate $26.8 million for fiscal year 2022 to 21 trade organizations that represent U.S. agricultural producers.
USDA has published the list of organizations that will receive fiscal year 2022 MAP awards and FMD awards. To learn more about MAP, FMD, and other FAS programs, visit www.fas.usda.gov. Pecan allocations below.
Tree Nut and Dried Fruit Productions add up to 5 million and 3.2 million metric tons, respectively
The INC has released its latest Global Statistical Review with 2021/2022 production forecast updates on tree nuts, peanuts, and dried fruits. Find its full report and analysis here.
New Mexico’s Nov. 15 pecan weevil exterior quarantine public hearing terminated
LAS CRUCES—The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) has terminated the public rule hearing previously scheduled for Monday, Nov. 15 regarding proposed amendments to 21.17.28 New Mexico Administrative Code, Pecan Weevil Exterior Quarantine rule, to remove several West Texas counties from New Mexico’s list of quarantined counties, add a cold-storage treatment post-entry requirement, and add a second cold storage treatment option.
A Notice of Rulemaking was provided in Volume XXXII, Issue 19 of the New Mexico Register. NMDA issued a termination notice in accordance with Subsection C of Section 14-4-5 New Mexico Statutes Annotated 1978.
New Mexico’s Pecan Weevil Exterior Quarantine rule was promulgated in 1969 for the purpose of reducing the risk of importing pecan weevil into New Mexico from weevil-infested areas exterior to New Mexico, areas of West Texas, Arizona, and California. The rule requires all in-shell pecans and other regulated articles that originated in pecan weevil quarantined counties to undergo a cold storage treatment to kill pecan weevil prior to entry into the state.
A news release will be distributed when a new date has been set for the public hearing.
USDA announces over $243 million in grants awarded to strengthen the Specialty Crop Industry
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Oct. 28 an investment of more than $243 million in grants to support specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops through two USDA programs—the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Specialty Crop Research Initiative grants program.
USDA is investing $169.9 million through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP) to support farmers growing specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, and nursery crops.
Read more here.
Southern Roots Nut Company acquires New Aces, shelling facilities
Southern Roots Nut Company, a wholesale supplier of inshell and shelled pecans based in Texas, made a public acquisition announcement today, sharing that the company acquired all of the assets of New Aces Pecan Company, a processing and shelling company in Las Cruces, New Mexico. The full announcement can be found here.
Congress passes Continuing Resolution with funds for ag disaster relief
Today, the U.S. Senate and House passed the Continuing Resolution (CR), which includes $10 billion for ag disaster relief for losses in 2020 and 2021. The ag disaster relief section includes many of the provisions written by Chairman Scott and Ranking Member Thompson that were included in the disaster legislation (HR 267) unanimously approved out of the House Ag Committee in July.
Read the fact sheet from House Ag Committee with an overview of the provisions contained in the bill here.
APC lowers assessments in anticipation of APPB’s first crop year
The American Pecan Council announced at its Sept. 22 meeting that the Council and the American Pecan Promotion Board began negotiating the details of a possible management contract for the staff and office of the APC to run the APPB organization. During this meeting, the APC also lowered its assessment as discussed and approved in April 2020.
According to the Sept. 22 meeting minutes, "By approving a lowering of the assessment and amended budget, it will accomplish what the APC stated back in April of 2020 and emphasized in August of 2020 and April of 2021—that once the APPB is appointed, the APC will be able to lower the assessment rate and ensure that the U.S. industry will continue to pay the same rate under both programs, while ensuring that marketing programs continue smoothly and seamlessly."
The motion to lower assessment was "MOVED by Louie SALOPEK, duly seconded by Les DAVIET and unanimously carried THAT the Council approve a rate assessment reduction from 3 cents to 1 penny for improved varieties, and a reduction from two cents to zero cents for native and substandard varieties for the 2021-2022 [Fiscal Year]."
Growers will pay $0.02 (regardless of native or improved) to the American Pecan Promotion Board (APPB). Handlers then collect the $0.02 from the grower and submit the assessment crediting the grower’s account. Importers pay $0.02 on all imported pecans.
The APPB will start collecting assessments this Friday, Oct. 1. The minutes from the APPB's first meeting can be found here. Check out the Q&A document from the APPB for additional info. Pecan South will release any further news and press releases from the USDA when they become available.Updated on Oct. 1, 2021.
South Georgia Pecan Co. agrees to process FICO pecans
SAHUARITA, Ariz.—Farmers Investment Co (FICO) and South Georgia Pecan Company announced on Sept. 9, 2021, that they have entered into an agreement for FICO to sell its inshell pecans to South Georgia Pecan for processing. This agreement comes after FICO announced it is closing its pecan processing operations effective December 31, 2021.
Read more here.
American Pecan Promotion Board members appointed by USDA
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Aug. 31 announced 17 appointees as members of the new American Pecan Promotion Board (APPB). The newly appointed members will serve two, three, and four-year terms.
Ten producers and seven importers make up the 17-member board. The 10 producer members will be allocated between three regions within the United States as follows: three from the Eastern Region; three from the Central Region; and four from the Western Region.
Read the full list of newly appointed members here.
Pecan growers vote to continue FMO in 2021 referendum
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Aug. 31 that eligible pecan growers voted to uphold the Federal Marketing Order (FMO) in the referendum. Because of this decision, the American Pecan Council will continue to be authorized by the FMO to regulate the handling of pecans, build consumer demand, and develop markets for the next five years. Read more here.
Financial penalties for violating Texas pecan weevil quarantine increase this September
Growers and shellers who plan to move pecan products around Texas face increased financial penalties starting Sept. 1, 2021, if they violate the “quarantine or rule to protect pecans or pecan trees from diseases and pests.” This quarantine applies to pecan weevil as well.
The Texas Department of Agriculture encourages all industry members to familiarize themselves with the rules and changes. To read the full legislative language, see the Texas House Bill 3289 here.
According to the Texas Pecan Growers Association, the Texas Department of Agriculture continues to refine the penalty matrix for quarantine violations to add more clarity. Questions about the quarantine or rules should be directed to state's Department of Agriculture. TPGA is also available to assist industry members.
EPA bans chlorpyrifos use on food crops
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos on food crops due to its link to health problems in children. In a statement released on Aug. 18, the agency stated that it will also revoke all tolerances for chlorpyrifos, "which establish an amount of a pesticide that is allowed on food."
This decision comes in response to the Ninth Court's order directing EPA to issue a final rule in response to the 2007 petition filed by Pesticide Action Network North America and Natural Resources Defense Council. The petition requested that the EPA revoke all chlorpyrifos tolerances, or the maximum allowed residue levels in food, because those tolerances were not safe, in part due to the potential for neurodevelopmental effects in children.
“Today EPA is taking an overdue step to protect public health. Ending the use of chlorpyrifos on food will help to ensure children, farmworkers, and all people are protected from the potentially dangerous consequences of this pesticide,” EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in the statement. “After the delays and denials of the prior administration, EPA will follow the science and put health and safety first.”
This restriction on chlorpyrifos use on food follows similar actions taken by several other countries, including the European Union and Canada, and some states, including California, Hawaii, New York, Maryland, and Oregon.
The EPA said the agency will continue to review replacements and alternatives to chlorpyrifos.
The Art of Pecan, Dripping Springs, Texas, Named Top 20 Finalist for the 2021 H-E-B Quest for Texas Best
SAN ANTONIO – More than 800 Texans threw their hats into the ring, submitting more than 1,200 products ready for the 2021 Quest for Texas Best. From books, beignets, and bottled water, to syrups, sausage, and seasonings, H-E-B’s Business Development and Sourcing Managers reviewed a host of products for potential placement on H-E-B store shelves. H-E-B is pleased to announce the top 20 contestants, who will present their products for final judging on August 25 to 26, 2021, at the San Antonio Food Bank. H-E-B Quest for Texas Best will adhere to all federal, state, and city health and safety guidelines.
A panel of judges, selected by H-E-B, will determine the four winning products and award $25,000 to the Grand Prize winner, the title of “Texas Best” and placement on store shelves; $20,000 to the first-place winner; $15,000 to the second-place winner and $10,000 to the third-place winner.
THE 2021 QUEST FOR TEXAS BEST FINALISTS ARE:
- 1836 Farms
- 2F Akaushi Beef
- Adventures of Exo and Cy
- BBs Season All
- Della Nonna
- Gabrick Barbecue
- Howdy Homemade
- Imperfekt Bites
- Jam-Tex Cuisine
- La Casa de Mi Abuela
- Live to Give Water
- Olla express cafe
- Park Lane Pantry
- Savor Patisserie
- The Art of Pecan
- The Stroop Club
- Yatab Mandazi
Now in its eighth year, H-E-B Quest for Texas Best has expanded its search for the finest foods and beverages in the Lone Star State to also include non-food items. In addition to food creators and innovators, Texas-based purveyors of beauty items, toys, home goods, household necessities, gardening supplies, coolers, and everything in between are now invited to join!
“We continue to be amazed at what Texans bring to the table and how their creations are received in stores,” said James Harris, Director, Diversity & Inclusion and Supplier Diversity, H-E-B. “The creativity and resiliency of our Lone Star food, and now non-food, creators have elevated this contest with another year of unbelievable stories and products.”
Since launching the contest in 2014, H-E-B has reviewed more than 4,500 samples of the most creative and mouthwatering Texas-made food and beverages, deemed more than 750 unique products worthy of shelf placement, and awarded nearly $1 million in prize money, marketing, supplemental support, and mentoring. Eligible products must not be available at any other large chain or retailer, and the vendors must be willing to sell exclusively to H-E-B. Additionally, Texas-based suppliers must also create, produce or co-pack the products in Texas.
H-E-B, with sales of over $31 billion, operates more than 400 stores in Texas and Mexico. Known for its innovation and community service, H-E-B celebrates its 115th anniversary this year. Recognized for its fresh food, quality products, convenient services, and a commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability, H-E-B strives to provide the best customer experience and lowest prices. Based in San Antonio, H-E-B employs over 135,000 Partners in Texas and Mexico and serves millions of customers in more than 300 communities. For more information, visit HEB.com and HEB.com/Newsroom.
California Pecan Growers announce 2021 Conference in September
The California Pecan Growers Association will host its 2021 Conference and Trade Show on Sept. 10 at the Rolling Hills Casino and Resort in Corning, California. To learn more about the conference, view the flyer below. The registration form for members can be found here, and that for vendors here.
Arizona Pecan Growers prepare to gather at 2021 conference
The Arizona Pecan Growers Association prepares to welcome members and guests to its in-person 2021 Conference on August 26 and 27 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Tucson - Reid Par. The conference will kick off with a Welcome Reception and will feature vendors, specializing in different fields in the pecan industry. For more information and registration, visit the APGA website here.
NPSA hosts 2021 Annual Meeting
The National Pecan Shellers Association will host its Annual Meeting on August 25 and 26, 2021, at The Brown Palace Hotel and Spae in Denver, Colorado. Registration is open. More details, including a schedule of events, can be found on the NPSA website.
Texas Pecan Growers celebrate 100 years at 2021 conference
One of the oldest horticultural associations in the state, the Texas Pecan Growers Association (TPGA) celebrates a century as an organization this year at its 100th annual conference and trade show on July 18 to 21 at the Embassy Suites San Marcos Hotel Spa & Conference Center.
“Like so many, TPGA’s conference was canceled last year, so the industry has been eager to get back together,” says Blair Krebs, Executive Director of TPGA. “This year’s show provides attendees an opportunity to celebrate not only coming back together but also 100 years of rich Texas pecan history. The conference will have special events and items celebrating the association and the Texas state tree. Join us for an event 100 years in the making!”
This conference and trade show gives pecan growers from across the state and around the world a chance to gather and talk about all things pecans. During these four days, pecan growers will find camaraderie, visit with commercial exhibitors, and attend educational seminars and an orchard tour. The educational seminars cover topics ranging from food safety and sustainability to the pecan market to best orchard management practices. On the conference’s last day, participants will venture to Comal Pecan Farm in New Braunfels. A fifth-generation family farm, Comal Pecan Farm sits along the I-35 corridor and faces increased industrial and residential development.
“It’s the biggest event for pecan growers across the state,” says Krebs. “Harvest is only a few months away, and these four days build up the excitement for the upcoming crop.”
In addition to learning about best farming practices, TPGA conference attendees will also receive updates from several industry groups, attend networking events, mingle with product and service providers, and fundraise for research and advocacy projects.
USDA reopens voting period for pecan FMO referendum
The Agricultural Marketing Service in the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on July 6, 2021, that it is reopening the voting period for the pecan Federal Marketing Order (FMO) referendum being conducted among eligible pecan growers across the Pecan Belt.
Learn more about the new voting period here.
USDA announces additional aid to ag producers and businesses in pandemic assistance for producers initiative
WASHINGTON, June 14, 2021—Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced additional aid to agricultural producers and businesses as part of the USDA Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative. Earlier this year, Secretary Vilsack announced plans to use available pandemic assistance funds to address a number of gaps and disparities in previous rounds of aid. As part of the Pandemic Assistance initiative announced in March, USDA pledged to continue Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments and to provide aid to producers and businesses left behind. Implementation of the assistance announced today will continue within 60 days to include support to timber harvesters, biofuels, dairy farmers and processors, livestock farmers and contract growers of poultry, assistance for organic cost share, and grants for PPE.
“USDA is honoring its commitment to get financial assistance to producers and critical agricultural businesses, especially those left out or underserved by previous COVID aid,” said Secretary Vilsack. “These investments through USDA Pandemic Assistance will help our food, agriculture, and forestry sectors get back on track and plan for the future. Since January, USDA has provided more than $11 billion of assistance directly to producers and food and agriculture business.”
Read more about USDA Pandemic Assistance here.
USDA to begin payments for producers impacted by 2018 and 2019 natural disasters
Producers to Receive Assistance through the Quality Loss Adjustment Program and Additional Assistance through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus
WASHINGTON, June 11, 2021 – More than $1 billion in payments will be released over the next several weeks starting June 15 for agricultural producers with approved applications for the Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) Program and for producers who have already received payments through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). These U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs provide disaster assistance to producers who suffered losses to 2018 and 2019 natural disasters.
Producers weathered some significant natural disasters in 2018 and 2019, and USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) provided support for crop value and production losses through QLA and crop quantity losses through WHIP+.
“From massive floods to winter storms, and from extreme drought to excess moisture, natural disaster events in 2018 and 2019 were exceptionally catastrophic for agricultural producers nationwide - many suffered the impacts of multiple events in not just one but both years,” said FSA Administrator Zach Ducheneaux. “FSA staff worked tirelessly for many months to develop and implement comprehensive disaster programs that meet the varying and unique needs of a large cross-section of U.S. production agriculture. QLA and the second round of WHIP+ assistance will provide much-needed assistance to help producers offset significant financial loss.”
Read more about these payments here.
Texas A&M awards pecan specialist the 2021 Distinguished Achievement
Dr. Larry Stein, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service horticulture specialist in the Department of Horticultural Science and pecan specialist, is one of three faculty members that received high-level campus awards on May 24 from Texas A&M University and The Association of Former Students. He is a long-time contributor to Pecan South and considered an authority on pecan production. Dr. Stein's research, work, and advice have helped Texas pecan growers remain competitive in the market. Read more about the award here.
TPGA opens registration for 100th Annual Conference
Texas Pecan Growers Association opened online registration on Tuesday for its 100th Annual Conference and Trade Show. TPGA will host the convention in San Marcos, Texas, at the Embassy Suites by Hilton San Marcos Hotel Conference Center & Spa from July 18 to 21, 2021.
"At the 2021 conference, we’re featuring a variety of new activities and speakers with the hopes of providing you with both an educational and entertaining experience," TPGA wrote on its website. "Be sure to be on the lookout for conference registration packets to be sent out in the next few months. We look forward to celebrating our 100th anniversary with all of you this July."
The online registration includes a conference breakdown from TPGA, an agenda, and further information on special events and 100-year commemorative items. You can learn more about the TPGA 2021 conference on the association's website here.
First detection of pecan bud moth in Arizona
The Arizona Pest Management Center announced that the pecan bud moth, a species of leaf roller moth, has recently been observed in southeastern Arizona pecan orchards. This is the ﬁrst time growers have reported this pest and expressed concerns about potential impacts to the crop. The center published a rapid communication to provide information on this potential pest and share management techniques. Growers are encouraged to review this information with their pest control advisor to determine what action, if any, is required.
Click here to read and download the complete publication on the Pecan Bud Moth in Arizona.
Potential Pest of Arizona Pecans: Rapid Communication
A mirid plant bug has been observed in high numbers on the catkins of some central Arizona pecan orchards. Multiple growers report this for the first time and have expressed concerns about potential impacts to the crop. Arizona Pest Management Center published this rapid communication to provide the limited knowledge we have about this potential pest. Growers are encouraged to review this information with their pest control advisor to determine what action, if any, is required.
Click here to read and download the complete publication on what appears to be a species of clouded plant bug in the genus Neurocolpus.
USDA reopens signup for CFAP 2
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on May 4, 2021, that it is reopening the signup period for its Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2.
Producers can apply for CFAP 2 at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices. This program offers direct relief to pecan growers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. CFAP's financial assistance is designed to give producers the ability to absorb increased marketing costs associated with the pandemic. Producers will be compensated for ongoing market disruptions and assisted with the associated marketing costs.
To find your local FSA office, visit this webpage.
New Pecan Magazine Debuts on National Pecan Day
The American pecan industry’s official trade magazine, Pecan South, debuts a new free consumer magazine all about pecans on April 14, 2021, this National Pecan Day. Anyone can access this new magazine, called Pieces of Pecan, online for free here.
“This National Pecan Day we wanted to bridge the great divide between pecan farmers and the average consumer, while also celebrating America’s native nut in a new and exciting way,” says Blair Krebs, Publisher of Pecan South. “Pieces of Pecan shares our favorite nut with anyone interested in learning more about pecans.”
Published by the pecan industry’s official trade magazine, Pieces of Pecan is a 56-page special edition that features fresh recipes and an article on pecan’s health benefits, as well as a Q&A with a sommelier on pairing wine and pecans, a profile on a pecan farming family, and a sit-down with author and chef Lara Lyn Carter.
Pieces of Pecan will be published annually and will always be available for free online for digital download. Printed copies are also available for purchase.
“We hope that this magazine will serve as both a tool for growers to connect with their customers and a source of inspiration for foodies and chefs,” Krebs says.
OPGA hosts 2021 Annual Convention and Trade Show
Oklahoma Pecan Growers Association will host its 2021 Annual Conference and Trade Show in Stoney Creek Hotel and Conference Center in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, from June 10 to 12.
If you have questions or want more information, please contact OPGA at email@example.com or 580-279-0357.
USDA seeks comments on “climate-smart agriculture strategy”
On January 27, 2021, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad. The executive order states, "America’s farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners have an important role to play in combating the climate crisis and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, by sequestering carbon in soils, grasses, trees, and other vegetation and sourcing sustainable bioproducts and fuels."
This order directs the Secretary of Agriculture to collect stakeholder input on a climate-smart agriculture and forestry strategy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will then consider this public input when it prepares recommendations to expand climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices and systems.
USDA specified that it is interested in comments in response to the topics, categories, and questions shown in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of its notice on the U.S. Federal Register. The deadline for comment is April 29, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.
To participate and provide input to the USDA, please visit the U.S. Federal Register through this link.
Penn State Extension survey focuses on safety and health needs of farmers
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Extension has developed an online survey to gather input from farm owners and workers on their educational needs regarding safety and health on their farms.
The survey, which will be online at https://extension.
The Penn State Extension Ag Safety and Health team is looking forward to collecting input from farm operators, managers, owners, and staff.
FAIR Act study examines the APC’s effectiveness
In a memorandum sent out on March 8, 2021, the executive director of the American Pecan Council shared the Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform Act Study that was conducted on the FMO with American pecan industry members.
Every five years, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) requires Federal Marketing Orders (FMOs) to conduct a Federal Agriculture Improvement and Reform (FAIR) Act study to ensure that the industry’s resources are being utilized in an efficient and effective manner. Additionally, this study has to be conducted by a third independent party to ensure that there is no bias in the study. The study was conducted by Texas A&M University and concluded last month. According to the Executive Summary:
The primary conclusion from the promotion analysis is that, despite its relatively recent launch, the American Pecan Council has effectively enhanced domestic and export demand for U.S. pecans over 2016/17 through 2019/20 through its generic promotion activities and generated a relatively high rate of return to pecan producers who have paid for the promotion over that period. The principal accomplishment of the APC domestic and export promotion program has been to support the annual average producer price of pecans about 24¢/lb (11%) above the level to which it might have fallen over the period of 2016/17 through 2019/20 if the promotion had not been done. Given APC promotion expenditures (including MAP funds but excluding administrative costs), the benefit-cost ratio for the APC promotion program for 2016/17 through 2019/20 is calculated at 9.9, meaning that the promotion returned $9.9 in profit to pecan producers for every dollar spent on promotion.
"This is great news as the study shows that the federal marketing order is working, in just 4 short years," APC Executive Director Alex Ott stated in the memorandum. A copy of the complete report can be found here.
The APC invites all those with questions to please contact the Council office at (817) 916-0200.
January 2021 Position Report Shows Post-Holiday Slump
The American Pecan Council published the January 2021 Pecan Industry Position Report at the end of February, adding further context to a turbulent crop year and providing data on exports, inventory, and availability.
Read Pecan South's full analysis of the recent position reports here.
USDA Releases Pecan Cold Storage for February
The U.S. Department of Agriculture releases its Cold Storage Report for January 2021 at the end of February. The report includes regional and national end-of-month stocks on tree nuts, including pecans, in public, private, and semi-private refrigerated warehouses. Additionally, it provides the record highs years and quantities for pecans in cold storage.
For a full copy of the latest release of the Cold Storage Report, as well as past releases, click this link.
USDA NASS also published the Cold Storage 2020 Summary. For a full copy of the latest release of the Cold Storage Annual Report, as well as past releases, visit this page.
WPGA Webinar Series Begins on March 8th
The Western Pecan Growers Association (WPGA) hosts its first webinar of a new Quarterly Webinar Series on March 8, 2021. WPGA offers this series exclusively to its 2021 registered members. The first webinar will begin at 10 a.m. (MST). Attendees will hear industry updates and a presentation on pecan nut casebearer control. The deadline to register for this first webinar is March 5, 2021.
Each webinar in the quarterly series will be approximately two hours and provide a CEU credit. These events will feature a variety of educational presentations, updates from pecan state organizations within the western growing region, marketing updates, etc.
The March 8th WPGA webinar will feature an hour-long presentation on controlling pecan nut casebearer. Attendees will qualify for one CEU. Future webinars will also cover seasonal-related pest control. The second hour of the webinar will feature presentations from industry organizations. WPGA's first webinar includes industry updates from the West Texas Pecan Association and Bob Redding with the National Pecan Federation. Future webinars will include other industry updates and updates from each state represented by the Western Pecan Growers Association.Sign up to receive updates from WPGA by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
USDA Seeks Nominees for American Pecan Promotion Board
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) seeks nominations for the American Pecan Promotion Board (APPB) under the newly established Pecan Promotion, Research, and Information Order. APPB nominations are due by March 26, 2021.
The 17-member board will consist of 10 producers and seven importers. The 10 producer members will be allocated between three regions within the United States: three from the Eastern Region, three from the Central Region, and four from the Western Region. Seven members will be importers. USDA will assign initial board members’ terms of office of two, three, and four years to stagger future terms of office. Each member’s term will begin when USDA approves the nominations.
To serve on the board, producers and importers must have produced or imported more than 50,000 pounds of inshell pecans (25,000 pounds of shelled pecans) on average for four fiscal periods. Producers who produce pecans in more than one region may seek nomination only in the region in which they produce the majority of their pecans.
The order specifies that nominations for producer member seats will be submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture by the American Pecan Council, the 17-member federal marketing order governing body. If you are interested in serving as a producer member, please submit your nominations to email@example.com. You may also contact Jeff Smutny at (817) 916-0020.
USDA is conducting nominations for importer members. Please submit nominations to Patricia Petrella at Patricia.Petrella@usda.gov.
For more information about the program, visit the AMS American Pecan Promotion Board webpage or contact USDA Promotion and Economics Division Deputy Director, Patricia Petrella, at (301) 337-5295 or Patricia.Petrella@usda.gov.
AMS policy is that the diversity of the board should reflect the diversity of their industries in the experience of members, methods of production and distribution, marketing strategies, and other distinguishing factors that will bring different perspectives and ideas to the table. When submitting nominations for the APPB, the industry must consider the diversity of the population served and the members' knowledge, skills, and abilities to serve a diverse population.
Since 1966, Congress has authorized industry-funded research and promotion boards to provide a framework for agricultural industries to pool resources and combine efforts to develop new markets, strengthen existing markets and conduct important research and promotion activities. AMS provides oversight to 22 boards. The oversight ensures fiscal accountability and program integrity and is paid for by industry assessments.
TriState 2021 Pecanference—Canceled
The boards of the Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi Pecan Growers Associations have canceled the June 2021 TriState Pecanference. Louisiana Pecan Growers Association announced the decision in an email on Feb. 19. The LPGA board of directors made this decision unanimously. According to the email, there will be an effort to study the possibility of replacing the TriState meeting with some sort of virtual lectures and meetings. LPGA welcomes feedback on this subject from producers, speakers, and exhibitors. To submit feedback or get more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Georgia Pecan Growers Association Conference – Virtual
The Georgia Pecan Growers Association will host its Annual Conference virtually, due to the ongoing pandemic. Dates and details TBA. Please visit their website for more information about registration and the conference.
Alabama Pecan Growers Annual Meeting — Postponed
Alabama Pecan Growers Assoc. has postponed its Annual Meeting and Educational Conference. Date to be decided. For questions and concerns, contact Cathy Browne via email. More details at alabamapecangrowers.com.
2020 NPSA Annual Meeting – Virtual Event
National Pecan Shellers Association announced that it will not host its 2020 Annual Meeting in-person in Denver, Colorado, instead the event will be held virtually on September 16 and 17. In a release to industry members, NPSA wrote that it made this decision to protect the safety of all members during this time when we continue to face a serious health threat. In the coming weeks, it plans to release more information about the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting, including details about the format, registration, schedule, etc.
Pecan Congress – Zoom Conference Meeting
Due to national concerns regarding the coronavirus and after receiving feedback from industry members, the American Pecan Council decided to host its biennial Pecan Congress as a Zoom Conference meeting on August 19. To reiterate, the APC will no longer meet at the DFW Hyatt for the congress or its August meeting but will host it via conference call on August 19. As we get closer to that date, the APC will release more details on the call-in. If you have questions, please contact the Council office at 817-916-0020.
Arizona Pecan Growers Assoc. — Webinar
Arizona Pecan Growers Association has canceled its Annual Conference and instead will be publishing a webinar with speaker presentations and materials on August 28. More information can be found on its website.
TPGA 2020 Conference – Webinar
Texas Pecan Growers 99th Annual Conference & Trade Show has been canceled. In its place, TPGA will be hosting a webinar and other online resources. Visit tpga.org for details.
Alabama Pecan Growers Summer Tour – Postponted
Alabama Pecan Growers Assoc. Summer Tour will be held on Aug. 11 in Tallassee, AL. More details at alabamapecangrowers.com.