Pecan Farmers Face Predators Year-round
Las Cruces – November 8, 2012 – On this edition of PUENTES, Emily Guerra bridges the community with Farm Manager for Dixie Ranch, Greg Daviet. A strong supporter of agriculture and public education in agriculture, he served as president of the Doña Ana County Farm and Livestock Bureau. He grows and harvests pecans on a 255 acre farm, south of Mesilla, from trees his grandmother planted in the 1960’s.
With many years of experience as a pecan farmer, Daviet is very knowledgeable about the profitable pecan industry.
The Mesilla Valley has had a rich and long history farming desirable crops such as chile, cotton and pecans. The warm climate in New Mexico, with 220 consecutive frost-free days, critical for growing pecans, has helped to make it one of the top producing states in the nation. Pecan prices have risen with an increased demand from Europe, the Middle East, India and the biggest importer, China.
Daviet says that pecans are very capital intensive with a variety of challenges. And now with high pecan prices and demands, farmers face a very serious problem - pecan thieves. Like other pecan growers throughout the pecan belt, from Georgia to New Mexico, he has had to resort to security guards patrolling his farm night and day against these predators.
Pecan harvest season starts every year after the first frost, which is usually around Thanksgiving, and lasts for about two weeks, but pecan theft is year-round. Pecan trees, fenced in or not, are on private property, and taking pecans without permission is stealing.