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It's not a nutty idea-pecans are good for you! They've not only got protein, potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium; but even calcium! Okay, so they contain fat too, but 95 percent of it is unsaturated.

Unfortunately for pecan trees, worrisome diseases keep popping up. In the past couple of years, scientists have uncovered two new ones. They're working alongside growers to come up with management strategies.

One solution is to breed disease-resistance into the crop. ARS conducts the world's only pecan-breeding program, serving growers in the United States, Mexico, and other pecan-growing countries. Out of this program cam Pawnee. Released in 1984, this variety is blessedly insect-and disease-resistant and produces notably large nuts of high quality as well.

Photo by Scott Bauer.

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