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Expect to pay more for pecan pie this Thanksgiving, due to drought in parts of the South and big demand from China. The average retail price for a pound of pecans rose from $7 in 2008 to $9 last year, and it's expected to be about $11 this year, says Jeff Worn, vice president of South Georgia Pecan in Valdosta, Ga.
Georgia is typically the country’s biggest pecan producer. Other top states include Arizona, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA), Washington, D.C., says that the U.S. crop may be less than 252 million lb. this year, roughly 14% smaller than last year's crop.
High prices also come from Asia’s strong demand. China often buys one-fifth of the U.S. crop. The nuts are especially prized during the country's two-week New Year celebration in January or February.