Home Back Issues February 2009 Economy pummels King Ag

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

Video: The 100 Best Survey

News
Thursday, August 28, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1OB Research Editor Kim Moore shares some pointers about the 100 Best Companies to Work For survey.


Read more...

True Blood

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Antibiotics really aren’t magic bullets.


Read more...

Podcast: Testing for Emotional Intelligence with John Hersey

Contributed Blogs
Friday, September 19, 2014
ivbU3sIXBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you tell if you, a peer, a subordinate or a job candidate has the emotional intelligence needed to do well?


Read more...

Grape Expectations

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY HANNAH WALLACE

Well-financed outsiders from France and California are buying up vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley.


Read more...

Downtime

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

How State Representative Julie Parrish (House District 37) balances life between work and play.


Read more...

Private liberal arts education: superior outcomes, competitive price

Contributed Blogs
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
0826 thumb collegemoneyBY DEBRA RINGOLD | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

Why has six years become an acceptable investment in public undergraduate education that over-promises and underperforms?


Read more...

Fast Food Slows Down

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

The ubiquitous fast-food restaurant may be on the decline.


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