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As Doña Ana County harvests pecans, farmers worry about theft

pecans farm
KVIA
Pecans grow on a Doña Ana County farm.

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- It's not just the busiest time of the year for pecan growers, but one of the most dangerous.

"Pecan theft is a continuing and growing concern for our industry," said Greg Daviet, whose family has owned Dixie Ranch since 1905. "It's dangerous for not only our personnel who are on the farm, but people who are unnecessarily endangering their own lives."

Daviet is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the thieves who stole 150 pounds of pecans in three minutes.

"The concern there is not only just the value of the theft, but it's personal safety," said Secretary Jeff Witte with the New Mexico Department of Agriculture.

There were three dozen reported pecan thefts in Doña Ana County in 2018, according to the sheriff's office. Information on thefts from other years was not immediately available.

Doña Ana County produces more pecans than any other region in the world, according to the department. Recently, New Mexico passed Georgia as the state that produces the most pecans.

Fighting pecan theft is "really a team approach," said Doña Ana County Sheriff Kim Stewart.

"It's the growers, it's the Department of Agriculture and it's us," she told ABC-7. "We're also making it clear to our deputies. This is harvest time. This is when thefts occur."

The sheriff warned farmers to not approach any potential thieves.

"We have a zero tolerance policy," Daviet said. "If you come across our property line and pick up one pecan, you're going to tell a judge why."

If you have any information on the December 2018 thieves on Daviet's property, please contact the Doña Ana County Sheriff's Office at ‎(575) 525-1911.

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Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.

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