Pecan trees are native to the Mississippi River Valley and probably first arrived in New Mexico along with American settlers around the turn of the 20th century. Fabian Garcia, the first director of the New Mexico Agricultural Experiment Station, planted some of New Mexico's first pecan trees in the Mesilla Valley in 1913. Many of these original trees are still standing at New Mexico State University's Fabian Garcia Horticultural Science Center.
The first significant commercial pecan plantings in New Mexico were made by Deane Stahmann in the 1930s. Stahmann planted 4,000 acres of mostly 'Western' and 'Bradley' trees along the Rio Grande River only a few miles from Fabian Garcia's original planting. Many of Stahmann's innovations, particularly with regards to pruning, are common practice among pecan growers in the west today.