Economy pummels King Ag

| Print |  Email
Archives - February 2009
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

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...

Healthcare pullback

News
Thursday, November 20, 2014
112014-boehnercare-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Each month for Oregon Business, we assess factors that are shaping current capital market activity—and what they mean to investors. Here we take a look at two major developments regarding possible rollbacks of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


Read more...

Corner Office: Steve Tatone

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seven tidbits about the president and CEO of AKT Group.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

Corner Office: Timothy Mitchell

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

A look-in on the life of Norris & Stevens' president.


Read more...

The short list: 5 companies making a mint off kale

The Latest
Thursday, November 20, 2014
kale-thumbnailBY OB STAFF

Farmers, grocery stores and food processors cash in on kale.


Read more...

Corner Office: Pam Edstrom

January-Powerbook 2015
Saturday, December 13, 2014

Seven tidbits of information from an agency partner and co-founder of Waggener Edstrom in Lake Oswego.


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