2011-01-05, Richard Heerema, NMSU Cooperative Extension Service

After President Richelle found the bell but not the gavel she used a spoon to ring the bell and call the meeting to order. Gene Jameson, a “ferner” (he is from somewhere in the US of A) gave the invocation. Our Prez lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance and Janet Green decided that we should Bless America, so we did. It must have been good because president Richelle said we sounded better from the podium.

The two minute meeting and greeting took longer because everyone wanted to make sure they shook the hand of the mystery greeter, Jim Parks. A few dollars were collected from those who did not.

After introduction of guests and many happy dollars and one sad dollar for the passing of Rusty Van Pelt (most of us knew him), Jim Scott asked if anyone knew a person named Noah. We all did, he is the one that built that big boat that landed on Mt. Ararat. No Jim said a currently living Noah. A few did. The Noah Jim had in mind was his great grandson. Jim donated a dollar for each Rotarian that knew one. We tried for 150 but is it the truth prevailed and Jim donated $30. Thanks Jim and congratulations.

The Program

NMSU CES logoPrez Richelle turned the podium over to program chair Barbara Nelson. Barbara said because we all like pecans we should know the history of pecans and she introduced Dr. Richard Heerema, an extension agent and pecan researcher to enlighten us.

Pecan, peaCAN, or peaKAHN, is a north american tree valuable for its fruit, the pecan nut. Pecans belong to the walnut family, Juglandacae. They are classified as genus Carya, species C. illinoensis.

The pecan grows naturally in the Mississippi valley region.

In 1729, Jean Peireut identified this north american tree using the Native American “pecon” it was wild and the nuts were very small. The oldest plantations are in Georgia and later in NM, AZ, OK, CA, TX, and into Mexico.

In 1916 Fabian Garcia, the first Director of Horticulture at NMA&M, now NMSU, researched not only chile (Garcia Number 9) but also pecans. Some pecan trees at NMSU are over 100 years old and we propose to keep them.

Locally we all know about the Stahmann Farms. In the 1930’s Dean Stahmann started the farm on 4000 acres. It brought pecan farming to the Mesilla Valley.

US production is stable, in 2009 we produced 291.8 million pounds of nuts. New Mexico production has improved since 1930. In 2009 we produced 68 million pounds of nuts. In New Mexico we have over 40,000 acres in pecan production, most of that in Dona Ana County. The New Mexico production has been stable however production in Georgia has decreased because some farms are being sold to developers for housing. I hope we don’t do that here.

The emphasis of the nutritional value has lead to higher sales. China is the largest importer of pecans, in 2009 they imported 110 million pounds of in shell pecans. There are many varieties of pecans but the thin shelled pecans, called papershell are the most popular because their shells can be cracked between the fingers.

After the Program

The 50/50 was won by somebody. The can collected $75 for the club project. We ended the meeting with the Four Way Test.

Is it the truth? Yes we all like pecans and are proud of our pecan industry. 

<prior week   following week>

Guests of Rotarians

Guest    Host
Gene Jameson Robert McPherson
Bryan Hansen David Hansen
David Thomas Gerald Thomas
Jennifer Taylor Andrew Taylor

Visiting Rotarians

Rotarian Home Club

Student Guests

Student School
Tra Tran Las Cruces High
Kori Gonzalez San Andres High


Rotarian Date Club

Submitted by George Miller George Miller