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Pumpkin production grows, squashing shortage claims

Pumpkins
Raymond Truelove | E+ | Getty Images

Is your Pumpkin Spice Latte causing a pumpkin shortage?

Not quite. While demand is at an all-time high, pumpkin production is keeping pace. U.S. harvests have grown 31 percent since 2000 — from 1.46 billion pounds to 1.91 billion pounds in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Several reports in early October warned of a canned pumpkin shortage for Thanksgiving, citing heavy rainfall in June for washing out the crop. However, Roz O'Hearn, corporate and brand affairs director for Libby's, a Nestle brand specializing in produce, said the company is confident it will have enough pumpkin for the autumn holidays.

In an interview with The Associated Press, O'Hearn did warn that, "once we ship the remainder of the 2015 harvest, we'll have no more Libby's pumpkin to sell until harvest 2016."

The top production states — Illinois, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and New York — harvested more than 1.3 billion pounds of pumpkins in 2014.

Of them, Illinois produced more than 745 million pounds of pumpkins, a whopping 288 percent more than the next top producing state of California.

While harvests have been bountiful, the farm value of these vegetables has decreased in the last few years, dropping from $149 million in 2013 to $145 million in 2014.

Average pumpkin prices have also dipped, falling from 13.20 cents per pound in 2013 to 11 cents in 2014.

So far, retail prices are up for all pumpkin varieties, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.