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|Monday, June 01, 2009|
What will prices be at harvest this year? “That’s literally the million dollar question,” says Tammy Dennee, executive director of the Oregon Wheat Growers League. Many commodity prices have plunged since the recession began, others are flat, and there’s not much optimism in the fields these days.
According to Brent Searle, economist at the Oregon Department of Agriculture, Oregon grows more than 220 commodities, with 40 of them grossing more than $10 million each per year.
“Different commodities are being affected in different ways,” Searle says. “Almost all of them are either flat or down right now.”
Grass seed, Oregon’s second-most-valuable crop, is down because sales are tied to housing developments and golf courses. Both have drastically cut back on seeding.
Hop farmers also are facing a bleak market.
“Right now you can’t give a hop away,” says John Annen of Annen Brothers hop farm in Mt. Angel. “Nobody is buying right now. There is no market.”
Annen Brothers locked in their prices early by negotiating contracts with brewers to avoid selling their hops on the market.
And last year’s optimism in the wheat industry has evaporated. Farmers planted 90,000 fewer acres of wheat in 2009 than in 2008, in what Bruce Eklund, deputy director of the National Agriculture Statistic Service’s Oregon Field Office, calls a “nationwide phenomenon.”
The average price of wheat in 2008 was $6.50 a bushel, down $1.73 from 2007’s average. A bushel currently sells for $5.40, 10 cents below the break-even mark.
Blackberries are one commodity that could potentially see an improvement in sales. The demand is up and the stock of frozen blackberries is low, but so is investor confidence. “Buyers are hesitant because they don’t know where the market will go,” says Searle.
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY EMILY LIEDEL
Inside the topsy-turvy world of corporate sustainability rankings.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy. “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER
Live, Work, Play: CEO of Gorilla Capital.
Friday, May 08, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
Hagfish may not have evolved much over the last 300 million years, but their protein-heavy slime promises advances in super-materials.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
While most categories of commercial real estate have performed well, one of the most robust has been apartment buildings.
Thursday, May 14, 2015
BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
There are more than 160 farmers markets in Oregon, contributing an estimated $50 million in sales, according to the Oregon Farmers Markets Association. We checked in on the Forest Grove market, which for several years has brought local produce and food vendors to Main Street in the center of town.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN
Like all good journalists, OB editorial staff typically eschew freebies. But health care costs being what they are, digital news editor Jacob Palmer couldn't resist ZoomCare's offer of a three-in-one (cleaning, exam, whitening) dental office visit, guaranteed to take no more than 57 minutes.
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