COVID-19: The Nutcracker

Jan 26, 2021

In a nutshell, COVID-19 and export issues are putting a lot of pressure on the nut industry. Almonds and pistachios and walnuts, oh my, farmers in the nut industry are worried.

What’s COVID doing now? Some operations simply had fewer workers because of outbreaks while others had to shut down at the busiest time of the year, resulting in a loss of crop and revenue.

And it’s not just the pandemic. Exports also matter. With the retaliatory tariffs from China in 2018 and 2019, the nut industry was hit hard. One grower said China isn’t importing at the same levels as previous years.

Add in a top-notch harvest, and one grower summed it up by saying, “Record crops and poor economic conditions in importing countries are depressing prices.”

The big concern: 94 percent of nut growers are worried about where prices are headed.

The writing’s on the walnut. California ranks first in the production of almonds, walnuts, and pistachios in the U.S. Plus, California almond exports make up the majority of the world’s supply. All in, the California nut industry could lose between $486 million to $728 million.