Revised April 2013 by Diane Huntrods, AgMRC, Iowa State University.
U.S. tree nut production in 2012 totaled 2.7 million tons, 4 percent above the previous year. The value of the nut crop was $7.4 billion, up 6 percent from the 2011 value of $7.0 billion. This increase may be attributed to higher crop values for almonds and pistachios. (NASS 2013)
California is the country's leading producer of tree nuts. Nearly 90 percent of each year's nut production is harvested from the state's orchards, including almost all almonds, pistachios and walnuts. (NASS 2012)
Almond crop production, at 1.7 million tons, was down 2 percent from 2011 but continued to account for more than half of U.S. tree nut production. The 2012 almond crop was valued at $4.3 billion, 8 percent more than the previous year. Higher grower prices led to another record-breaking year for the almond industry in terms of crop value. (ERS 2013)
Pistachio production in 2012, at 275,500 tons, was 24 percent more than 2011. Pistachio crop value for 2012, at $1.1 billion dollars, was up 27 percent from previous year. Like almonds, higher grower prices raised overall crop value. (ERS 2013)
Pecan production was strong in 2012 at 302.8 million pounds or 151,400 tons, a 12 percent increase from 2011. However, the value of the 2012 pecan crop decreased 27 percent to $477 million dollars. Together, Georgia, New Mexico and Texas produced more than 75 percent of the U.S. pecan crop. (ERS 2013)
Walnut production in 2012, at 470,000 tons, was up 2 percent from the previous year. The record-breaking value of 2011's walnut crop was $1.3 billion. China and the United States account for over 75 percent of total output.
The 2012 hazelnut crop, at 34,700 tons, was 1 percent below the previous year. Hazelnut crop value, at $63.4 million, was 29 percent below 2011.
Macadamia nut production in 2012 was 22,000 tons, down 10 percent from 2011. The macadamia nut crop was valued at $35.2 million dollars, down 8 percent from 2011. While production declined and prices increased, it was not enough to boost grower returns above the previous year. (ERS 2013)
Organic nut production currently amounts to less than 1 percent of conventional nut production. Between 2008 and 2011, organic nut sales were valued at $47 million. In 2011, California’s organic nut sales totaled $40 million, up 44 percent from 2008 and representing 85 percent of total U.S. organic nut sales. (ERS 2013)
The value of organic almond production accounts for the largest share of organic nut production, representing 45 percent of 2011 organic nut sales in the United States, followed by walnuts (21 percent) and pistachios (20 percent). From 2008 to 2011, the value of organic almond farm sales rose 69 percent to $21 million. (ERS 2013)
Nut consumption rose to 3.97 pounds per person in 2010. Americans ate more almonds, hazelnuts, macadamias and pistachios, but fewer pecans and walnuts. In general, the top three nuts eaten in the United States are almonds, pecans and walnuts. (ERS)
Nuts are 40 percent of the total value of U.S. fruit and nut exports. The United States is the world’s largest exporter, trading nearly a third of the world’s nuts. (ERS 2013)
Almonds are especially important to the United States. By value, almonds are the leading U.S. horticultural export commodity ($2.0 billion 2008-2010). Over the past 10 years, U.S. almond exports grew by 270 percent in value, with the United States currently accounting for nearly 75 percent of world almond exports in 2010. Other important nut exports include walnuts ($659 million 2008-2010) and pistachios ($572 million 2008-2010). Hong Kong and China import 17 percent of U.S. tree nut exports, followed by Canada (5 percent) and South Korea (3 percent). (ERS 2013)
Tree Nuts: World Markets and Trade, FAS, USDA.
Organic Fruit and Tree Nuts Harvested from Certified and Exempt Organic Farms: 2008, 2008 Organic Production Survey, National Ag Statistics Service (NASS), USDA, 2010.
Fruits and Nuts: 2007 and 2002, 2007 Census of Agriculture, NASS, USDA, 2009.