|| Print ||
|Wednesday, July 11, 2012|
By Peter Beland
Though Oregon is not a corn state, its No. 1 and No. 2 commodities in 2010 were beef and dairy respectively. When feed prices go up, operation costs go up and those costs are passed to the consumer. But thanks to current high beef prices, regional management practices and relatively temperate weather, Oregon’s beef producers stand to gain from the national drought.
Just as last year’s wheat spike showed, what happens in places as far away as Russia can have very immediate repercussions closer to home. “Even if we’re enjoying good weather here and good yields, we really are connected to what’s going on elsewhere in the country and the world,” says Oregon Department of Agriculture spokesman Bruce Pokarney. But Oregon does produce and export huge quantities of agricultural products. When beef prices are high and demand growing in Asia, the prospects of running a beef operation aren’t all that bleak in light of rising feed costs. “Eighty percent of what we produce leaves Oregon,” says Pokarney.
But even with high beef prices, how do you deal with the higher front-end costs?
According to Oregon Cattlemen’s Association marketing director Ron Rowan, Oregon is feed-deficit area, meaning beef producers consume more feed than is produced in the state. But Oregon’s beef producers have found ways to get around this: French fries.
Oregon and Washington are home to a number of potato operations that grow spuds destined for Ore-Ida and other French fry giants. Over the years, especially when ethanol production put pressure on corn prices (35% of national corn crop is used for ethanol production, says Rowan), Oregon beef producers have supplemented their corn feedstock with potato by-products. “Potatoes...keep us competitive,” says Rowan.
Another way Oregon producers have stayed in the game is, well, they’re not in Texas. Last year, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas experienced significant droughts, bumping up hay prices and maintenance costs for cattle operations. Many cattle were culled and the demand for Oregon cattle increased. And though alfalfa production in Oregon has decreased in recent years because growers have planted other crops, the past two years have still seen good harvests.
So, Oregon isn’t Texas and it has potatoes. Turns out this is a decent recipe to weather a drought that has rocked the rest of the country.
Peter Beland is a contributing writer for Oregon Business.
|The Love Boat|
|The Food Pod Grows Up|
|The High Road|
|Tinker, Tailor, Portland Maker|
|The Shift to Community Health Care|
|The Harder They Fall|
|Senate Finance Committee scrutinizes museum tax status|
|IAAF president steps down from position with Nike|
|Another chapter to the Bezos/Musk space race story|
|Thanksgiving travel: Fuel costs low, terrorism anxiety high|
|Costco chicken salad linked to E. coli case in Washington|
|Nestle comes clean about benefitting from slave labor|
|Enormous drugmaker emerges from Pfizer, Allergan deal|
Advances in technology are reshaping the health care landscape. For patients, technologies such as 3D printing and advanced genomics are offering bold new treatment options for life-threatening illnesses and injuries. However, technology is not only revolutionizing patient care; it is also transforming the way health care administrators optimize resources, streamline processes, and improve patient and employee satisfaction.
Economic diversity has proven a smart strategy for the Port of Hood River. How can other Oregon communities replicate the model?
Phone, Internet needs of small community school districts earn attention of top-five telecom provider.
Health insurer expects new customer-friendly waterfront location to open by April.
The Salem Convention Center has capped its tenth anniversary year by earning the prestigious “Best of the Best 2015” award from NW Meetings & Events magazine. Selected as the Best Convention/Conference Venue in Oregon by meeting and event planners from Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, the Salem Convention Center ranked above the Oregon Convention Center and the Portland Art Museum.
The Oregon Cooperative Hall of Fame honors individuals for their outstanding contributions to the successful building and operation of Oregon agricultural cooperatives.