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SENM may face another pecan weevil quarantine


Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

ARTESIA — The New Mexico Department of Agriculture has drafted a quarantine plan for the pecan weevil in Eddy, Lea, Curry and Chaves counties.

Brad Lewis, interim division director of the NMDA was in Roswell, Artesia and Carlsbad Thursday presenting the proposal to those in the pecan industry.

According to information supplied by New Mexico State University, the pecan weevil was confirmed in several residential locations in southeastern and eastern New Mexico late last year and earlier this year.

NMSU’s information said the pecan weevil is native to the eastern U.S. and parts of the midwest but not New Mexico.

A quarantine was put in place by state agricultural officials earlier this year and the proposed quarantine would take hold on Nov. 20 and last for 180 days.

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According to the draft plan, there would be restrictions on regulated articles that would prevent the spread of the pecan weevil in the state.

Anything associated with pecans that would be transported from quarantined counties to areas that aren’t under the quarantine would have to be accompanied by a certificate of treatment issued by a representative of NMDA for each shipment of regulated articles, certifying treatment under official supervision or agreement prior to transporting out of the quarantined area.

Lewis said pecans traveling from this area to other parts of the state would be placed in sealed trucks and then they would be put in a cold storage facility until the pest is vanquished.

“This whole thing is to help pecan growers stay in business,” said Eddy County extension agent Woods Houghton.

Hoby Bonham is involved with the pecan industry in Chaves County and he presented a plan to those attending the meeting in Artesia.

He said the plan was “written for growers.”

The plan is a multi-step one and it calls for establishing regulations on buying stations in Chaves County to establishing an eradication team within Chaves County.

“I have no skin in the game in Eddy County or Lea County,” Bonham said. “This (proposal) protects the growers as a whole.”

“Eddy (County) has more weevils than Chaves (County) has right now,” Bonham said.

Bonham said he’s not concerned about commercial growers or custom harvesters right now. His main concerns are those pecans that are found in people’s yards. He also said pecan theft is another problem for pecan producers.

In 2015, over 2,000 farms in the state were involved in commercial pecan production, according to NMSU.

Those same figures show that produced pecan nuts were worth more than $180 million, ranking first in the state for cash receipts from agricultural crops.

General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at sports2@rdrnews.com.

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