Fields of few dreams

| Print |  Email
Archives - June 2009
Monday, June 01, 2009
ATSWheatWhat 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.
JENNY FURNISS
 

More Articles

The Backstory: Portland Youth Builders

The Latest
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
blog002 1BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

As part of our green workplaces story, Oregon Business checked out a community service project undertaken by Portland Youth Builders, a nonprofit alternative high school. In partnership with Whole Foods, PYB built garden boxes for a Home Forward  housing site. Home Forward is a government agency that provides housing for low income residents and people with disabilities.


Read more...

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...

Fixing Oregon’s broken roads

The Latest
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
RUCCostComparison rev4-30BY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The technology at the center of Oregon’s road usage fee reform.


Read more...

Department of Self-Promotion

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 17, 2015

061715-awards1Oregon Business wins journalism awards.


Read more...

10 Innovators in Rural Health

July/August 2015
Monday, July 13, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | PHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Telemedicine, new partnerships and real estate diversification make health care more accessible in rural Oregon.


Read more...

Fueling Up for the Climb

July/August 2015
Friday, July 10, 2015
BY GREGG MORRIS

Rita Hansen aims to scale natural gas vehicle innovation.


Read more...

Oregon needs a Grand Bargain energy plan

Linda Baker
Monday, June 22, 2015
0622-gastaxblogthumbBY LINDA BAKER

The Clean Fuels/gas tax trade off will go down in history as another disjointed, on-again off-again approach to city and state lawmaking.


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