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Hammons Products sets record this walnut season

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After a lighter-than-usual crop last year, Stockton-based Hammons Products Co. is starting black walnut season with its highest opening price to date.

Jacob Basecke, Hammons Products’ vice president of sales and marketing, said the black walnut processing company will begin buying the crop for $16 per 100 pounds on Oct. 1. The former record, $15 per 100 pounds, had been the opening price since 2016, he said.

“We decided to increase it this year based on our needs and the crop outlook in southwest Missouri,” Basecke said via email. “Black walnuts are alternate bearing so they will typically produce a good crop one year and a lighter or no crop at all the next year.

“We are coming off of a lighter crop in 2018 when we bought 13 million pounds, so we need a bigger crop to get closer to our average crop size of 22 million pounds.”

Should Hammons Products reach its 22 million-pound goal, the business would pay individuals or groups who bring in the crop roughly $3.5 million this season. In 13 states, Hammons Products operates about 225 hulling sites, where independent operators haul the product to sell.

Hammons Products sells the walnuts under its own brand and to other companies for their products. When the company processed 9.5 million pounds of walnuts in 2015, revenue was $14 million, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

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