One South Georgia pecan producer is cautiously optimistic farmers will soon experience an increase in market prices. Coming off a season where pecan yields were the best in years and prices were the worst in some time, growers like Randy Hudson are hopeful prices will soon rebound.
“The old saying about the cure for low prices is low prices. The cure for high prices is high prices. When prices are low, people come in the market and buy a lot of pecans. Supply goes down. Demand goes up because the prices are cheaper. On the other hand, when prices are really high, demand has a tendency to really taper off. Supermarket sales, retail sales begin to go down. As a result of high prices, we typically follow it with low prices. It’s all kind of cyclic in nature any way,” said Hudson, who also works with the American Pecan Council, serves on the Pecan Export Trade Committee and member of the Georgia Pecan Growers Association
“It’s not a good year for growers, it’s a really good year for processors. I hope next year is a really good year for growers, and it may not be quite as good of a year for processors.”
The recent surge in interest from other countries has Hudson excited about the future market prices. Price increase is desperately needed considering the amount of Georgia crop that is in storage. Hudson estimates between 25 million and 35 million pounds are currently being stored.
“We’re already beginning to see in the last several days, we’re seeing some real interest in China, specifically, but around the world in general. Getting China back into this market is going to be a real positive. They’re back into, particularly, the Georgia market. They’re out here now competitively bidding on loads. We’re beginning to see the prices increase,” Hudson said.
“I’m very cautiously optimistic about the remainder of this market season. I know there’s a lot of growers in Georgia that have a lot of inventory on hand. I think it’s going to bring a little higher price than back during harvest season.”
According to the latest USDA numbers, Georgia was projected to produce approximately 135 million pounds in 2020. It was amazing production and one growers were looking forward to following Hurricane Michael in 2018. However, prices were devastatingly low which hampered producers’ optimism and forced many to store their crop.
“It’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times. It was the best of times harvesting because we just had a great harvest season. We had outstanding yields. The quality was superb, probably the best quality we’ve seen in years. The weather was very important because the quality sustained itself all the way through second harvest. That was the best of years,” Hudson said. “The worst of years as a grower, though, when we started having to price this and getting paid for the crop, prices in some cases were half of what they were a year ago.”
It was a devastating year for Alabama producers as well. Not just because of low prices but of two hurricanes that wiped out a substantial amount of this year’s crop. Winds from Hurricanes Sally and Zeta also uprooted many trees, creating countless future losses for the state’s producers.