New Mexico’s pecan weevil quarantine to be altered to support nut trade

Pecan growers in New Mexico hoped proposed changes to a statewide quarantine of a nut-damaging weevil could help product the state’s nation-leading industry.

The quarantine, first enacted in 2017 today applies to only Eddy, Lea and Chaves counties in southeast New Mexico where the bug is believed to persist.

Growers in the region frequently ship west to processing plants in Dona Ana County or El Paso, Texas.

More:New Mexico led nation in pecan, chile production in 2019, despite early freeze

To ensure the safe transport of pecan weevil from quarantined areas into counties believed free of the pest, New Mexico required additional certification and treatment typically using cold storage to kill the bug.

The proposed changes to the quarantine would allow southeast New Mexico shippers to ship from quarantined areas through multiple Texas counties on route to El Paso processing facilities or those in Dona Ana County.

These routes are often preferred as quicker and less expensive to growers in the southeast corner of the state, said Ryan Hiles, assistant director of entomology and nursery industries at the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.

More:New Mexico pecan growers could expand north, as state remains number one in production

Pecan Weevil

The changes would also allow shipments from Texas growers in the specified counties: Culberson, Jeff Davis and Presidio along with presently allowed El Paso and Hudspeth County in Texas and the states of Arizona and California.

All other U.S. states are under the quarantine and pecans are restricted from shipment into New Mexico.

A public information meeting on Nov. 15 was recently cancelled and was planned to be rescheduled to solicit feedback on the proposal.