Region sees increased Ag sales in 2010

March 19, 2011

Agricultural producers in Oregon's mid-Columbia region (Hood River and Wasco counties) earned a total of $177.3 million in gross sales of farm commodities in 2010, a welcome jump up from the $149.4 million the two counties earned in gross sales of farm products in 2009.

The mid-Columbia farm sector's 2010 rebound was part of a larger trend enjoyed by many producers throughout the state, according to information compiled by Oregon State University agricultural economists in the 2010 Oregon County and State Agricultural Estimates report. The publication is available online.

"OSU Extension Service county-based faculty in Hood River and Wasco counties contributed to the report," said Brian Tuck, director of the Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Hood River.

"The OSU Extension Service has operated county extension offices in Hood River and Wasco counties for many years, offering outreach education in several areas including youth development, nutrition education and production agriculture," Tuck added.

"Due to their close working relationships with area farmers, local OSU Extension field faculty specializing in agriculture play a key role in gathering local data for OSU Extension's annual statewide report on agricultural sales," said Tuck.

A breakdown of 2010 gross farm sales for Hood River and Wasco counties follows.

In Hood River County, farm gate sales of all crops and livestock totaled $87.6 million, up from $83.4 million in 2009 - a 5 percent increase.

On the crops side county growers made significant gains in hay and forages, small fruits and berries and tree fruits, primarily sweet cherries. Sales of livestock and poultry products remained steady over 2009-10.

Winter pears, Bartlett pears, sweet cherries and apples accounted for 95 percent of the 2010 agricultural commodity sales in Hood River County. Winter pears are a major crop in the county, generating $54 million in sales last year.

In Wasco County farm gate sales of all crops and livestock were $89.7 million, up significantly from $66 million in 2009 - a 36 percent increase. The biggest gains were in tree fruits, mostly sweet cherries, which brought strong prices in 2010.

Sweet cherries and grains are the major agricultural crops in Wasco County. Sweet cherries earned 54 percent ($48 million) and grains earned 23 percent ($20.8 million) of total agricultural sales in the county in 2010.

Compared to other Oregon counties, Wasco and Hood River counties ranked 13th and 14th respectively in level of gross agricultural sales. Marion County in the Willamette Valley sits in first place with $511 million in agricultural sales in 2010.

Statewide, Oregon's farmers and ranchers grossed $4.3 billion in sales last year. This represented a 3.8 percent increase from 2009 when Oregon gross agricultural sales fell to 4.13 billion, due largely to the national recession affecting Oregon agriculture and the Oregon economy as a whole. The gross sales figure for Oregon agriculture in 2008 was $4.9 billion.

To obtain a copy of the 2010 study, contact Brian Tuck at 541-296-5494 or Brian.Tuck@oregonstate.edu. The full study results will be available online within the next month, at the OSU extension website.

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