After Hurricane Michael, Another ‘Perfect Storm’ Hurts Georgia Pecan Growers
Georgia’s pecan crop is still recovering following Hurricane Michael in 2018.
Crop estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show Georgia’s pecan harvest was cut nearly in half last year.
That’s because farmers here lost about $250 million in trees during Hurricane Michael, and it’s going to take time before the new ones they’ve planted will be mature enough to harvest.
For the second year in a row, New Mexico was the nation's top pecan producer, beating out Georgia.
R.G. Lamar is a third-generation pecan farmer in Hawkinsville south of Macon.
He lost about 6% of his trees and worries about more than just storms. There's cheaper pecans from Mexico available and an ongoing trade war with China has made it harder for him and his fellow farmers.
"The hurricane, the Mexican crop and the tariffs from China on our pecan crop that’s exported there have been a perfect storm for us," he said.
Lenny Wells is the University of Georgia's pecan specialist.
He said aside from the 2018 hurricane, a drought in the late summer of 2019 affected pecan development and may have further depressed the harvest.
Wells said it could take at least five years for the states’ crop to fully recover.