This classification covers establishments primarily engaged in the production of tree nuts, including almonds, filberts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts.
Tree Nut Farming
Nuts are high in unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat, and they are considered to be a high-energy food containing dietary fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. Most varieties are used throughout the year as nutritious snacks. Products containing nuts include ice cream, candy, assorted baked goods, and even, in the case of almonds, cosmetics.
The United States is a dominant world player in the commercial production of tree nuts with 875 companies claiming tree nut production as their primary operation. The total crop value of tree nuts produced in the United States was reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to be approximately $1.5 billion in 2001. By contrast, the value of the 1971 crop was only $194 million. In addition, the per capita consumption rate was 2.5 pounds in 2001.
California alone grows 83 percent of U.S. nut crops. In fact, nearly all almonds, pistachios, and walnuts are produced in California. Almonds generate roughly $1 billion in sales annually, making them California's number-one export. Almond exports grew from 320 million pound to 326 million pounds during the 2002-03 growing season. California is also the second largest producer of pistachios in the world, behind Iran.
U.S. production of pistachios reached a record 243 million pounds in 2001, compared to just 1.8 million pounds in 1977. Filberts or hazelnuts are grown in Oregon and Washington State, and production has more than tripled in 20 years, according to the USDA. Macadamia nuts are native to Australia but have become an important crop in Hawaii over the past 50 years. The outlook for macadamia nut producers is especially bright, as demand continues to exceed the available supplies.
The pecan, the black walnut, and the butternut (white walnut) are native to the United States. Pecans grow in the central and southern United States. Georgia is the leading pecan producer and also accounts for 5 percent of total U.S. tree nut production. New Mexico and Texas also produce pecans. Native walnuts grow throughout the central Mississippi...