Pecan Crop Outlook - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Pecan Crop Outlook

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COLFAX, LA.- You eat them in your candies, in your casseroles, and of course...in your Thanksgiving pies.

Louisiana is one of the country's largest pecan growers. They were on track to have a record-setting year, but as News Channel 5's Rachael Penton explains, Isaac had other plans.

For pecan growers in Colfax like Ben Littlepage, this season's crops were on track to produce record setting amounts.

"We had a good crop, but it's turned out that we've got the largest crops that I believe I've ever had," says Littlepage.

But then at the end of August, along came Hurricane Isaac.

"We thought we were gonna ring the bell this year with our crop, but Isaac kind of but a hiatus on that," he adds.

Littlepage estimates that about 25% of his pecans were blown off of the trees during Isaac....pecans that weren't quite ready for harvesting....which means that they can't be sold. That was just the beginning of his worries, which aren't over yet.

"We've got a lot of limbs that are broken. We could lose another 15% of the crop which would be about 40% of what we anticipated in the late summer," says Littlepage.

Farmers aren't the only ones who rely on a good crop though.....the Louisiana Pecan Festival is held in Colfax each year....one of the town's largest events and biggest moneymakers.

"It has about a 5 million dollar impact because we have about 100,000 people that come to the festival in the three-day period that it goes on," says festival supporter Terry Brown.

But organizers say that they're not worried about crop turnouts.....they say that this nearly 50 year old tradition will go on as planned....no matter what.

"It doesn't affect the festival it goes on because we've always got pecans," adds Brown.

For now Ben Littlepage will continue to prepare for the beginning of the harvest season that's just a few weeks away...and continue to hold out hope that this season's crops are more than they're cracked up to be.

"What started as being an extra large crop is gonna turn out to be just a regular crop so I guess we'll survive this year and we should do alright."

Littlepage estimates that pecan prices for shoppers will be about the same as what they were last year. As for the Louisiana Pecan Festival, it begins on Friday November 2nd and organizers say they'll have plenty of pecans to go around.

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