Thieves target pecan orchards in New Mexico | KOB 4
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Thieves target pecan orchards in New Mexico

Casey Torres
June 25, 2018 05:55 PM

ARTESIA, N.M. - New Mexico makes up about one-third of the nation’s pecan production, but pecan producers in the southeast part of the state say they are dealing with a big problem.

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Bill Kuykendall, who has worked for Chase Farms for 30 years, said the orchard is targeted by thieves about 50 to 100 times a year.

“Probably close to a quarter million dollars’ worth a year,” Kuykendall said.

He said the thieves rake the fallen pecans and take off. If they manage to steal a hundred pounds of pecans, Kuykendall said they can make hundreds of dollars.

He said the fences don’t do much, so they rely on cameras and foot patrols to catch the crooks. 

Brad Lewis, the Division Director for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA), said in-shell pecan buyers will need to be licensed with the NMDA because of the new Pecan Buyers Licensure Act.

 “The license will require you to provide a location of where you’re buying it (pecans),” Lewis said. “It requires the buyer to collect records from every individual he/she buys pecans from.”

Lewis said the fee for the license and the specific rules are still in the works. He said the NMDA plans on having a draft ready by September.

He said the act will also help with pecan theft.

“It also allows law enforcement authorities to go in and look at records of pecan buyers to make sure that they are in compliance,” Lewis said.

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Casey Torres

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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