NEVADA, Mo. — Agriculture is feeling the heat – literally – from drought conditions. Pecans in Nevada included.
“You know, you go a mile apart from each other, someone might get a half-inch of rain and the next guy gets nothing. And so, there’s some small pockets that still have some pecans and there’s other places that there is nothing at all,” said Ben Bennett, Missouri Northern Pecan Growers, General Manager.
After hot and dry conditions last summer left the pecan trees in Nevada stressed during the winter – they were met with the same conditions this summer.
The groves of trees maintained by Missouri Northern Pecan Growers saw a short crop last year – losing about 75 percent of their crop.
“The trees have put on more nuts than most of us thought they were going to. And we don’t know if that’s almost like an emergency mechanism like, ‘Hey, you know, we’re really, really stressed and we need to reproduce,’ and so, they’ve really put on a lot of pecans,” said Bennett.
But even the trees with pecans are producing smaller pecans – which means they won’t produce very much of the actual part you eat.
After seeing a pecan from last year and one from this year — you can already tell the one from last year is going to be bigger than the one that still has the “shuck” on it.
“By the time you take this shuck off, it’s going to be, you know, 30% of that size is the shuck, so, it’s going to be quite a bit smaller. And these are not even particularly large nuts from last year,” said Bennett.
These pecans are not the same pecans you’d find in other states like Texas or Georgia – these native-Missouri pecans are sweeter in taste.
So, what does all of this mean for those who locally purchase them?
“We can’t just say, ‘Oh, we’re just going to raise our prices because we don’t have as many’ Because, even though they’re not native, they’ll go buy them somewhere else, and like our wholesale buyers and stuff like that. As long as we have maybe a little bit of a crop, I’d say if we have 100,000 pounds, I’d be really surprised, you know, to pick in this area. That’ll get us by until next year,” said Bennett.
Bennett adds – we do need rain – but the best-case scenario – not only for pecans but for all area crops – would be consistent rain amounts over a consistent period of time.
According to a poll fourstateshomepage.com shared on social media, roughly 80 percent of Four States residents pronounce the word “Puh-Kawn”.