Pecans are an easy target for thieves. Growers shake the nuts from trees and leave them to be scooped up days later by machines. Acres of pecan farms are not patrolled, leaving them open to thieves, who sometimes cut holes in fences and get away with thousands of dollars worth of pecans. Many growers have installed security cameras, hired guards and added barbed wire to deter theft, but the land is still too expansive to patrol effectively.
Pecans can be stored until buyers are found, but in Georgia, selling them is the equivalent of returning cans and bottles for cash, Severson reports. Drive-up buying stations are plentiful, and thieves can sell nuts retail by the roadside. Drought and heat hindered Georgia's main pecan competitor, Texas, but demand is up in China and other countries, making the price-per-pound rise to $3 for premium nuts. (Read more)