The American pecan industry has had to make adjustments just like the rest of the world in the face of the global pandemic known as the Coronavirus or Covid-19. The pecan industry has seen its marketing and data collection team based in Dallas, Texas undergo adjustments as work from home orders have swept across the nation. The team has done well with the adjustments and most of us have not seen any hiccups in support from our Dallas based team. As an industry we just completed our second ever elections, and meetings have become much cheaper to attend, as in person meetings change to online zoom meetings.
On the farm and in the orchards, life has not changed so much. In fact very little has changed on the farm, as farming is the original social distancing lifestyle. On our farm we can go days and even weeks without seeing other people and with our mostly family run farm we see only our few employees who also prefer the solidarity of the farming lifestyle. Social distancing has been relatively easy to implement for ourselves and other farmers like us. A good cleaning of the tractor after the end of the day, and maybe we pickup lunch in town only once a month instead of once every two weeks. Otherwise not much has changed on the farm, we are still hard at it and producing the worlds best pecans.
As food supply chains around the globe have undergone several changes and delays, a bright spot is the supply of pecans. The entire supply chain of pecans from right here on the farm all the way to the grocery store shelf has seen little change due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Grocery prices have increased for us all as restaurant service has slowed to a snails pace with only take out options available for the restaurants that have chosen to stay open. With this change, has come much more at home meals for most of the world, and with it an increase in grocery prices. Several media outlets ran stories over the past week stating grocery prices have soared due to the shift in consumer eating habits brought on by the closing of restaurants. As more meals are cooked at home some supply chains have not been able to adapt quickly enough causing shortages of certain items. Meat packing plants have been one of the harder hit areas with close working conditions causing workers to spread and contract the coronavirus more easily causing workers to stay at home and delays in the plants. We have seen some meats in scarce supply on the shelves and more is expected to come before things get better.
As more humans are realizing the benefits of eating plant proteins, pecans may be well positioned to help fill the gap of the meat shortages, offering healthier proteins in the form of nuts. Pecans are arguably one of the world’s healthiest proteins and undeniably contain the world’s healthiest fats.
With all the uncertainty going on the world today, the price of pecans has remained relatively stable, this is due in large part to the steady supply chain. From the farm to the shelling and packing, our pecan supply chains have remained strong with little to no change in supply capacity. We have seen some damaging weather events over the past few years, but by and large most of us have recovered well.
Pecan prices have continued to remain stable both on the farm and on the shelf. As growers and packers continue to adjust operations to meet increases in demand we will continue to monitor pecan prices.