New preliminary statistics show a new record high production value for Oregon ag - Value of Oregon agriculture topples $4 billion mark

August 10, 2005


Oregon Agricultural Statistics Service (OASS)

1220 SW 3rd Ave., Room 1735

Portland, OR 97204

800-338-2157 or 503-326-2131

Fax: 503-326-2549 



Printed copies of "Oregon Agriculture: Facts and Figures" may be ordered from the Oregon Department of Agriculture Information Office, 503-986-4550, or downloaded here: 

The value of Oregon agriculture has reached an all-time high, topping the four billion dollar mark for the first time in history, according to newly revised figures released this week by the Oregon Agricultural Statistics Service (OASS). While the statistics for the 2004 production year are still considered preliminary, the numbers clearly indicate an agriculture industry in Oregon that continues to be a major economic contributor to the state.

The most recent OASS statistics show the value of agricultural production in Oregon last year reached $4.1 billion, nearly an eight percent increase from 2003's record high of $3.8 billion.

"These numbers back up our claim that Oregon agriculture is not an industry in decline, but continues to expand," says Katy Coba, director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. "Reaching the four billion dollar mark is another benchmark of success for our diverse and dynamic industry."

When a state like Oregon can count more than 220 commodities as part of its agriculture, there will always be some winners and some losers in any given year. Once again, 2004 has shown more pluses than minuses.

The current value of agricultural production in Oregon for 2004 includes a top ten list that contains the same commodities, but in a slightly different rank order:

(1) Greenhouse and nursery products $817 million

(2) Cattle and calves $503 million

(3) Hay $381 million

(4) Milk $363 million

(5) Grass seed $350 million

(6) Wheat $201 million

(7) Christmas trees $142 million

(8) Potatoes $91 million

(9) Pears $76 million

(10) Onions $74 million

The only changes in rank order from the previous year were milk and grass seed swapping places at fourth and fifth on the list, and pears and onions swapping places at ninth and tenth.

Oregon agriculture recorded a couple of other milestones last year. For the first time in history, two commodities top the half billion dollar mark in value. Also for the first time, Oregon's top five commodities each have a value exceeding $350 million.

Among the top ten, the largest percentage increase in value last year was recorded by milk (33 percent) followed by hay and grass seed (20 percent each). Pears (19 percent) and cattle and calves (17 percent) also recorded significant increases in value of production. The greenhouse and nursery industry -- the first Oregon agricultural commodity to crack the $800 million mark -- saw a fairly modest five percent increase.

"The greenhouse and nursery industry continues to show steady growth each year," says Janice Goodwin, director of OASS -- part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service. "The increase for cattle and calves was not unexpected. That was due to strong prices enjoyed by producers. Hay had a record setting production year and a significant increase in price per ton. The big jump in value of milk production is an indication of the industry's expansion in Oregon -- particularly on the east side of the state. Grass seed crops returned to better prices this past year."

For some commodities outside the top ten, there were some eye-popping increases in value. Dungeness crab landings in 2004 were at a record high 27,269,808 pounds for a value of nearly $43 million. That's a whopping 67 percent increase over the previous year and pushed Dungeness crab from #20 to #14 among all commodities. Other types of seafood -- which are considered to be agricultural products -- saw big jumps as well. The value of production of salmon increased 47 percent to nearly $13 million while albacore tuna returned to the state's top 40 list at about $9 million.

Oregon's hazelnut industry had another strong year with a 36 percent increase in value to nearly $53 million. That puts hazelnuts #11 of all Oregon agricultural commodities. Oregon grows virtually all of the nation's hazelnuts.

Berry crops generally did very well last year with increases in value for raspberries (46 percent), blueberries (32 percent), blackberries (18 percent), and strawberries (8 percent).

While a majority of the commodities produced in Oregon recorded increases in production value, there were some notable decreases. Among those in the top ten, Christmas trees (-10 percent), potatoes (-19 percent), and onions (-13 percent) all suffered from lower prices.

Once again, Oregon's diversity of agriculture protects the overall industry. Whereas Midwest states rely on just two or three commodities, Oregon boasts 36 that have a value of at least $10 million.

"That is always one of our strengths," says Goodwin. "When some segments of our industry aren't doing so well, others usually have strong years."

For most of the past two decades, there have been more winners than losers. Only twice in the past 19 years has the value of agricultural production in Oregon dropped from the previous year. When statistics for 2005 are tabulated sometime next year, there is a great deal of optimism that the total value of agricultural production will hit another all time high.

For more information, contact Janice Goodwin, Director, at 503-326-2131 or 800-338-2157. 

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