Home The Latest Klamath water brings jobs optimism

Klamath water brings jobs optimism

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Monday, May 16, 2011

BY COREY PAUL

Farmer Steve Kandra took a break from planting wheat in his field recently, a truck humming behind him, to reflect upon the good news about water this year.

“There should be enough water in the system to take care of everybody,” he says. “This year is looking a heck of a lot better than last year.”

Last year drought delayed irrigation flows until mid-May. For Klamath County, the water shortage meant millions of dollars lost from unplanted crops and rough economic ripples through an already beleaguered community. Even with federal disaster aid, Kandra says he lost money irrigating with costly groundwater and had to leave a fifth of his 650 acres barren. Other farmers couldn’t plant at all.

But irrigation started on time this year, thanks to cool, stormy weather. The snow pack was at 116% in late spring and Upper Klamath Lake was at 2.25 feet higher than last year.

A good year for the county means about $300 million in agricultural commodities, but this is the first time in years where that production seems possible. Last year, the value of Klamath agricultural commodities dropped off $13.2 million from 2009’s value of $241 million.

Even a modest return to 2009’s yield would be welcome to the county of less than 25,000, which struggles with high unemployment. Every $1 million of agricultural commodities converts into about 15 jobs for the county, according to the OSU Extension Service. Each of those commodity dollars multiplies once or twice as it works through the county economy, according to the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce. That’s hundreds of millions cycling through everyone from tractor suppliers to restaurateurs.

“A very small change, say 25 jobs, can make a significant impact,” says Chamber of Commerce director Charles Massie. “Now all of a sudden, a 100 jobs. That’s pretty important.”

But farming remains risky, even with this normal irrigation flow.

“We have a 70% chance of success and a 30% chance of failure,” he says. “After last year, we don’t have too many choices. We’ve got to get it done.”

Corey Paul is a contributor to Oregon Business.

 

More Articles

Political Clout

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Businesses spend billions of dollars each year trying to influence political decision makers by piling money into campaigns.


Read more...

Constant Contact

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

To prevent burnout, companies are banning email and after-hours communications. But is the 24-hour workday here to stay?


Read more...

Gone Fishing

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LORI TOBIAS

Business has been good to Laura Anderson, leading some to suggest she must be awfully lucky to find such success in a business notorious for failure. But luck’s had little to do with it.


Read more...

Shifting Ground

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JOE ROJAS-BURKE

Bans on genetically modified crops create uncertainty for farmers.


Read more...

The Rail Baron

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Oil is gushing out of the U.S. and Canada, and much of it is coming from places that don’t have pipeline infrastructure. So it’s being shipped by rail.


Read more...

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


Read more...

A Recipe for Success

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

Two businesswomen, two iconic food brands and one food-obsessed city. We thought this sounded like a recipe for good conversation. So in late August, Oregon Business sat down with Wendy Collie, CEO of New Seasons Market, and Kim Malek, owner of Salt & Straw, to discuss their rapidly expanding businesses and Oregon’s trendsetting food scene.


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