New Mexico State University will soon be able to vastly expand its pecan research potential, thanks to a generous donation of 1,000 pecan trees by Linwood Nursery in California. The donation means NMSU now has nearly 30 acres of pecan trees for research, giving it the largest university pecan research acreage west of Texas and the third largest in the country.

"Pecans are hugely important in the state and the region," said Richard Heerema, NMSU's Extension pecan specialist. "One of the things we've really needed was to expand our research acreage. These new trees will help (researchers) get a much better handle on the ideal input levels for water and nutrients. We'll also be able to study other areas, including pest control, pruning and orchard floor management."

Pecans are one of the most valuable agricultural products grown in New Mexico, with the state typically ranking near the top in production for the entire country. New Mexico has an estimated 40,000 acres of pecan trees, which produced approximately 70 million pounds of pecans in 2009. That year's crop was valued at $133 million.