Will this be the year the pecan becomes Georgia’s official nut?

The Pecan — will it be Georgia’s official nut? 

Spare us the jokes — it’s too easy. 

Senate Bill 222 is headed for a vote before Crossover Day on Monday, and that likely leaves it to the House and the governor to finish the work to officially declare the pecan as the official state nut.

And for those of you who think we already have a state nut — the peanut — you’d be wrong. Peanuts are the official state crop. And they are legumes, and that’s another discussion. 

The bill, which extols the heart-healthy benefits of the tree fruit and traces its history to the 16th century, has 31 sponsors just in the Senate. It also mentions that 170,000 Peach State acres are dedicated to its growth. While there’s no recipe attached (yet), there’s even a list of ways you can enjoy Georgia’s own nut. 

Pecans got another noteworthy mention Tuesday in the House as Rep. Ron Stephens introduced a new version of his bill in support of horse racing

The Savannah representative argued that the racing industry would provide a more diverse income flow to farmers whose pecan groves may take decades to recover from storm damage. Some have yet to recover from Hurricane Michael in 2018, when the farmers lost crops after their trees were blown down. 

“It allows them to get into the industry on the low end and then move up depending on how they purchase and sell horses, so it’s an additional industry,” he said. “It reminds me of somebody that, the wind comes down and blows down their corn farm. Well, they’ve got chickens and hogs as backup.” If successful, the bill, called the Harry Geisinger Rural Jobs and Growth Act, would send the ultimate decision on horse racing to the voters in the form of a constitutional amendment.

The Current is an independent, in-depth and investigative journalism website for Coastal Georgia.

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