The USDA Foriegn Agricultural Service reports on a wide variety of commodities movement to and from the United States. The most recent pecan import data shows shelled pecan imports have remained steady over the last few years rising from around 80+ million pounds to around 112+ million pounds per calendar year.
Pecan imports into the US have seen a meteoric rise over the last few decades as American pecan growers have been traveling around the globe promoting US pecans and creating demand in countries and economies that had previously never even hear of pecans.
Business has been good in the American Pecan industry. Growers have worked tirelessly over the last 20 years to promote pecans and educate consumers about the health benefits of consuming pecans. With such a small global production and the 7-10 year investment before new orchards come into production, demand has been outpacing US supply capacity for some time now and some have been quick to fill that gap and bring farm gate prices back down.
Pecan imports into the US have risen significantly over the last decade but the type of pecan being imported may be changing. As some shelling companies in the US begin to utilize Mexican shelling facilities the pecan imports into the US have been changing from large volumes of in-shell to already shelled pecans.
Labor prices in Mexico have US shellers at a disadvantage and many sheller / brokers have been quick to switch from shelling pecans to brokering shelled Mexican pecans. With the increase in demand the pecan shelling industry in the US has had to compete with Chinese buyers of in-shell pushing farmgate prices higher, but also pushing shelled pecan prices higher as well. US shellers cost is about double that of a Mexican based shelling facility and with an open border for agricultural products such as pecans, the Mexican pecan shelling industry is seeing big growth.