Economy pummels King Ag

| Print |  Email
Sunday, February 01, 2009
wheat.jpg

PENDLETON In 2008, wheat prices soared to a whopping $16 per bushel and then plummeted to $5.50 by the end of the year. Prices currently hang at $5.28, below the break-even mark, leaving farmers facing an uncertain future.

Farmers break even at about $6 per bushel, according to Kevin Porter, former president of the Oregon Wheat Growers League. Shipping to Portland from Eastern Oregon costs an additional 70 cents. “It doesn’t take a calculator to figure out that’s a loss.”

“I have very few complaints because it was a tremendous pricing opportunity, if you played your cards right,” said Craig Reeder, vice president of Hale Farmers near Echo. “The only thing about the market that’s troublesome is the volatility — and the attitudes of farmers have been as volatile as the market.”

In Reeder’s opinion, the farmers who got burned sold too early in 2007 and too late in 2008. But in general, farmers are approaching the 2009 harvest with a positive, albeit cautious, attitude.

Tammy Dennee, executive director of the Oregon Wheat Growers League, says fuel and fertilizer prices were “unpredictably high” and an extra burden on farmers. According to Pendleton Grain Growers, a 2,500-member cooperative that operates a 12-million bushel capacity system, the price of fertilizer tripled in price between 2007 and 2008.

Porter thinks the recession has actually helped rather than hindered farmers, because it instigated the fall in fuel and fertilizer prices. Though fuel and fertilizer prices came down in late 2008, they didn’t drop as rapidly as the price of wheat.

There are strong indicators that fuel and fertilizer prices will be heading back up before the 2009 harvest. When fuel prices dropped, Porter filled all his storage containers in preparation for the 2009 harvest; just one way farmers are trying to pare down their input costs.

“The euphoria of last year sure faded quickly,” says Porter.

JENNIFER FURNISS



Have an opinion? E-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 


 

 

More Articles

Crowdfunding 2.0

News
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
120214-crowdfund-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with attorney Erich Merrill about the latest way to raise money from large groups of people.


Read more...

Dan and Louis Oyster Bar opens up to a changing neighborhood

The Latest
Thursday, December 11, 2014
121114-oystervidBy MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Revamping a Classic — an iconic eatery stays relevant in a changing marketplace.


Read more...

Powerbook Perspective

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with Oregon state economist Josh Lehner.


Read more...

Legislative Preview: A Shifting Balance

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY APRIL STREETER

Democratic gains pave the way for a revival of environment and labor bills as revenue reform languishes.


Read more...

Justice for All

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Lawger upends the typical hourly based fee model by letting clients determine the cost.


Read more...

Playoffs pay off for the Ducks

The Latest
Friday, January 02, 2015
oregon-ducks-logo-helmet-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The University of Oregon football team looked unstoppable on the field Jan. 1 — and the university is reaping the benefits of the new postseason format.


Read more...

Ski traffic

News
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
0121-skiway-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

A place-based multimodal transportation plan for Mt. Hood is long overdue.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS