Thursday, November 18, 2021

Gipson: Pecan Theft is a Real Problem

Andy Gipson is the Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce.

As the holidays quickly approach many of us will be eating dishes with pecans. From sweet potato casseroles to a good ole pecan pie, many holiday meals would not be the same without pecans; all thanks to our pecan growers.  Now, it’s no secret among my family that my favorite pie at Thanksgiving is Mississippi pecan pie with a cup of hot coffee.

But Mississippi pecan growers are facing a real problem – pecan theft. I don’t mean a problem with passersby stopping to pick up a few handfuls of pecans to make a pie. Most farmers I know are willing to give someone a few pecans for a pie. I am referring to a theft problem that is costing pecan growers hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars each year. Growers have informed me of instances of having multiple loads of pecans stolen from their farms during harvest season, which lasts a short 8-12 weeks.

For several years, pecan growers have come together to push for laws with stronger penalties that would deter the crop theft. Basically, the current law calls for a fine of up to $100 for those found guilty of stealing pecans. During the 2021 legislative session, a bill was introduced by State Senator Mike Seymour stiffening the penalties. The bill passed in the Senate, but it didn’t make it out of the House.  

It is now time that we support growers and provide them the protections they need to maintain their livelihoods. The penalties for pecan theft must be more stringent and grab the attention of would-be thieves so that they think twice before coming onto someone’s farm illegally.  Along with appropriate penalties, the key to deterring crime is enforcement of the imposed penalties. Ideally, pecan growers would benefit from having laws that are uniform to those in surrounding states as many of the farms stretch over state lines.

Unless you are a grower, you are more than likely unaware of the rampant pecan theft.  But know this: pecan theft is no laughing matter.  It is challenging for growers to stop theft from their farms because most pecan growers do not live on the farm in the orchard itself. The price of pecans and the ease in which they are often stolen and sold for cash makes it an attractive commodity to steal. The pecan market is fluid, with no traceability and no accountability. It is not uncommon to see We Buy Pecans signs at various locations when driving in pecan producing areas of the state. When the public brings in pecans to sell at these places, there is no documentation required or questions asked as to the origin on the pecans, and you get paid cash. Think about this, about $5 worth of pecans will fit in a baseball cap. Imagine how many dollars a thief would make selling a car trunk load of pecans. 

Curbing pecan theft is also an economic development issue. The pecan industry is a growing sector of our agriculture economy.  Growers from other states are coming to Mississippi to plant pecan orchards. Mississippi ranks eighth in the nation in pecan acreage, and pecan acreage in our state has more than doubled since 2018. With 823 improved orchards, the pecan industry is certain to grow even more over the next decade as the newly planted trees being producing, and these improved orchards have more than twice the number trees per acre.

Pecan theft is not a new problem; growers have experienced it for years. Growers out west in other states have these same issues with other tree nuts such as pistachios and almonds. With the growing industry and the new marketing potential to come in the next few years as a result of increased production, it is only fair that we have measures in place to protect farmers’ crops. Pecan theft is not just stealing a pie; it’s about taking away from the livelihoods of our pecan producers.  As you bite into your pecan pie over Thanksgiving, take a moment and think about the hard work that went into raising those pecans. Shouldn’t the farmers be the ones receiving the profits from the sales of their pecans, not low-down thieves?  I’m encouraging the Legislature to get this issue addressed in 2022 and appreciate their support.


Anonymous said...

this guy does more as ag commissioner than the governor does.

Anonymous said...

This is why I shoot to kill invaders on my farm. Thank God the castle doctrine allows me to defend my farm with deadly force.
Imagine dying for someone else’s pecans!

Anonymous said...

to 1:13.....i suggest you go back and re-read the castle doctrine or else you gonna end up in prison.

Anonymous said...

@1:13 Almost as sad as killing for your own.

Anonymous said...

Can we bump the font size up a click or two. That was tough to read.

Anonymous said...

True, but is taking pecans from county and state ROW's from overhang one ? Cornfields got the same deal going on.

Anonymous said...

Enact laws similar to those for timber theft and this problem would go away.

Anonymous said...

What Mr. Gibson is purposefully not telling you is that if someone goes on a farmer's property to "steal pecans" (or any other crop, tractor, etc.), they are subject to prosecution for trespassing and larceny (grand or petit depending on the value of the amount of thing stolen). Much more sentencing exposure than the $100 fine he mentions. The $100 fine he references is a fine for picking up pecans from public rights of way that fall off of a farmers' trees, or are shaken loose by the perp. 69-33-3. This has nothing to do 1:13 with invaders or the castle doctrine. Please don't shoot people picking up pecans on the side of the road, that's not your property, and you will lose at trial (maybe, depending on county where you are tried). I would argue that if your pecans want to hang out and rest on public property waiting for only you to get them, you ought to pay the public (us) some rent. If pecan farmer can store pecans on the right of way for free, the cotton/bean/weed growers are going to want similar treatment. This is an effort to punish conduct that occurs on public property, not private. It's an important difference. Why didn't he explain that?

Hookah said...

Glad he prioritized this at the top of his list while ignoring the MM issue.

Anonymous said...

Senator Seymour came up with this bill - not Gipson. Seymour has done his homework and knows what he's talking about!

Anonymous said...

It's called Command +

Anonymous said...

For bathroom reading:

Anonymous said...

Why does he have to spend the time to write an article about this? Just prosecute for stealing.

But "hundreds of dollars per year"?? Hardly seems like an issue that needs legislative attention. They waste enough of my tax dollars. And its a whole lot more than hundreds of dollars.

Anonymous said...

ain't nobody gonna steal deez nutz!!!!

Anonymous said...

Gosh, what Ole Andy ain't telling, as usual with Big Miss. Ag, is that USDA subsidizes these son of guns better than almonds and so on. Why is he bleating about pecan theft, when they are stealing from taxpayers in essence?

Crop insurance doesn't pay for theft, but for decline in price, as always. Heads Miss. Farmers Win, Tails Taxpayers Lose.

Another get rich due to Tater Et Al Tax Dodging LiberaLtarians. Andy Gipson, presiding. Hands out for GubMint Payouts.

Taxpayers with Common Sense should look at all these Farm Welfare shticks.

Anonymous said...

Tell me, am I going to Jail?

Thinking Cap, fitted, said...

"Think about this, about $5 worth of pecans will fit in a baseball cap."

In this day and age, perhaps a new law that prohibits the possession of a baseball cap within 100 feet of the drip line of a pecan tree should be considered?

Anonymous said...

1:13 you will spend thousands of dollars on a defense lawyer if you kill someone over stealing pecans! Slow your roll and cool your jets, you must live alone and watch very little tv?

I used say crazy shit like you, but I’ve mellowed over the years. Now I my catch the pecan thief and make them eat pecans until they throw up and then call the local authorities.

Shooting someone over pecans ain’t worth it, you will loose everything you ever worked for!

Anonymous said...

Whatever happened to plum theft? When I was a kid there were plum trees in backyards all over town. It was a favorite pastime to steal some plums after school. The adults would get mad but they knew they did the same when they were kids. Yes we were plum thieves. Just enough to get a stomach ache. I don't see plum trees anymore. Those were the days.

Anonymous said...

Some people will do and say anything for those eleven daily joints of 'medicine'.

This is Nuts said...

When pecan theft is outlawed, only outlaws will have pecans.

Anonymous said...

A farmer is driving a manure cart, which breaks down in front of the county mental hospital. A patient leans out of the window and shouts, "What's that manure for?" The farmer says, "I'm going to put it on my pecans." The patients, responds, "We may be crazy in here, but we put whipped cream on ours!"

Anonymous said...

Was he really on the State pay-clock when he wrote that? Next, look for his dissertation on running pink-tinted gas in your jeep.

Anonymous said...

For some reason, I doubt anyone posting snarky comments has priced
a small bag of shelled pecans at their local grocer.

Just A. Boomer said...

You know, in a kinder, gentler, more civil society, it wasn't unusual to encounter a pecan Grove with buckets near the entrance to the Grove and a sign that would read "Pick Halves". In other words, the owner of the Grove would allow anyone to pick up all the pecans they wanted granted they be CIVIL and GRATEFUL enough to leave half of what pecans they picked up for the owner. Yeah, those days are probably over as well.

Anonymous said...

He needs to get off his lazy ass and get to work on the billion dollar legal cannabis industry that we the people voted for.

Anonymous said...

Most folks under fifty are weak on fractions.

Actually, division too.

Anonymous said...

Andy Gipson has a habit of making mountains out of molehills to make himself look like he’s in control of things. Unfortunately Andy is simply just another Tate Reeves crony. Worthless at everything except lying his ass off and telling whoppers to those willing to believe his nonsense. One of his latest threats to common sense is the Super Duper Lawsuit he plans to file if the legislature passes anything on medical cannabis. Lawmakers and the governor’s failure to listen to voters have turned this debacle into a possible bloodbath for incumbents during the 2023 elections. And ole Andy is gonna do his part to help get his own ass kicked to the curb. It just never ends!

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid it was a neighbor's apple tree. I think it was the house at the corner of Avalon and Cedarhurst. The trees were right close to Cedarhurst so it was easy to get a few. A lady on Londonderry had some beautiful plums that were huge growing up against her detached garage. Loved them too. Then there was the lady at the corner of Londonderry and Broadmoore or Woodbury who hated kids and dared us to get in her yard. And the dog who chased us all down the street as we ran for our lives thinking we would be killed any second. Those indeed were the days.

Someone said:
Whatever happened to plum theft? When I was a kid there were plum trees in backyards all over town. It was a favorite pastime to steal some plums after school. The adults would get mad but they knew they did the same when they were kids. Yes we were plum thieves. Just enough to get a stomach ache. I don't see plum trees anymore. Those were the days.

Anonymous said...

Disappearing pecans are a real problem. But it’s like 80th on the list of real problems. Somewhere higher on the list of real problems is elected officials doing press releases about stolen pecans. Their obliviousness is pretty far up the list of Mississippi’s problems.

Anonymous said...

What about my GD cherry tomatoes? Some person or creature keeps getting them. When is the state going to do a press release about that? There’s a lot more of us cherry tomato growers than there are pecan tree growers. Straight pandering!!!

Anonymous said...

You cherry tomato growners get bupkis until you get busy with the political donating and taxpayer subsidy welfare asking. Hire you self a lobbyist or two and get busy.

protip- even a third rate politician knows the politial doanting and welfare subsuidy asking go together like deep fried and pork rinds!

Anonymous said...

"Think about this, about $5 worth of pecans will fit in a baseball cap. Imagine how many dollars a thief would make selling a car trunk load of pecans."

$5 in a ball cap? GOODLORDGAWDALMIGHTY! Imagine how many dollars a thief would make selling a Gipson-hatload of pecans! Wait a this just another of Goober's distractions? I think ol' Andy done got drupynut syndrome. Pecans ain't nuts, they's drupes. Don't this here pie-eatin' latte-slurpin' Goober (and them's legumes, not nuts neither) know about any of this here agaculcha?

Perchance our erstwhile "Sombrero Grande Sin Vacas" might be more productive concentrating on being the revered legal scholar he was previous to his illustrious career as, well, whatever he is now.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait for the high fertilizer prices to cause a rash of manure theft. The Hat Gipson will be in element when he demands laws!

Anonymous said...

Who do I see about three bushels of pecans I stole that was all bad. My time is valuable and I might be entitled to compensation. Should I call nine and all eights?

Anonymous said...

Bryant wrote the script of playing the aw shucks hillbilly role, ride it into a cushy PERS retirement and then get fat as a lobbyist. Andy is just taking it to a whole new level.

Anonymous said...

If you think Phil started the country bumpkin routine, you must have missed the last 200 years or so of governors. Heck, Cliff Finch on a bulldozer with a black steel lunch bucket was probably the biggest hoot of all time. Or, just listen to one word of Haley's mealy mouth cornpone blathering.

I laughed out part of my lunch one day in the old bank building when some newscaster reported that Haley was considering a run for POTUS. One word out of him would be doom. But at least he wore a tie most of the time and not the fake 10 gallon hat like this doofus. And he was effective!

But, hey, Cowboy Andy, have some mo' pine coffee. I think you been putting a shot or two of turpentine in yores. Pecan theft. Yeah.

Why, roving bands of Mexican lizard people are probably running around with tree shakers in the middle of the night to steal all them pecans.

MDAC can bust some poor guy for bending over to pick up a few boxes of pecans and feel good about protecting ANOTHER GubMint Subsidized Farm Welfare Crop.

That's right folks. They get cut rate insurance for a bad pecan yield. Just like Bubba Big Bucks. Heads they win, tails the taxpayer loses.

So Andy's all for them, to protect them from the hordes of Pecan Theft Gangs. Who's protecting the middle class from Farm Welfare Scams?

Anonymous said...

Just extend squirrel season.

Anonymous said...

Deer, tree rats, possums, coons , wild dogs,dillos and Bigfoot all dine on these peeecans. What of them ? What about the animals and bi-pedal sub humans !!!???

Festus Greenbriar said...

If a standard Braves ball cap will hold 1.5 pounds of paper-shell pecans and a ten gallon hat will hold six pounds of Stewarts, how far is it from the Ag Museum to the Governor's Mansion during a light rain on a Thursday?

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