New Mexico agriculture officials say an emergency quarantine recently extended in hopes of stopping the spread of an invasive bug threatening the state’s pecan industry will remain in place as they look to protect the largest pecan-growing county in the United States.
State Agriculture Secretary Jeff Witte said Wednesday that growers across the state produced an estimated $213 million in pecans last year, with most of that coming from Dona Ana County.
While the county is free of pecan weevils, Witte said officials want to make sure it stays that way by restricting the movement of in-shell pecans from other areas and requiring that they be treated through cold storage methods.
Freezing the nuts will kill the pests.
Authorities also are concerned about an uptick in pecan thefts, from buckets to truckloads worth thousands of dollars.