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Las Cruces pecan plant struggles to stay afloat during virus pandemic

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- After tariffs hit pecan farmers hard almost two years ago, famers in Doña Ana County were starting to feel a little less pressure, but now they’re dealing with impacts brought on by coronavirus pandemic.

New Mexico Pecan Co. in Mesilla Park typically processes about 5,000 pounds of pecans per day, but COVID-19 has slowed production down. Greg Salopek, part owner, said several employees were furloughed for about two weeks because of slow business.

"In 2018, there was 31,500 acres of producing pecans in Doña Ana County," Salopek said. "There’s a lot of people that work the industry here."

Salopek said that after tariffs impacted sales, the coronavirus pandemic feels like "a double whammy."

“I don’t see the same amount of walk-in traffic," he said. "The streets are dead out here on South Main. We’re thinking of putting up some big billboards but with all this uncertainty we're going to put that on hold for a bit.” 

Although online sales have gone up, Salopek said it's still not enough. To hopefully bring in more revenue and stay afloat, New Mexico Pecan Co. is now selling pecans at wholesale price to the public

"We're just trying to see if we can help the people out give them some of the best snacks that are available in pecans,” Salopek said.

New Mexico Pecan Co. is located on 102 Watson Lane in Mesilla Park. If you would like to purchase pecans or other products, click here to visit their website.

Coronavirus Video / New Mexico / News / Video

Brianna Chavez

Brianna Chavez is an ABC-7 reporter/producer.

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