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Oregon farmers and rancher hope for strong results in 2013

January 4, 2013

Oregonian article By Eric Mortenson,  Jan. 2, 2013.

Katy Coba, director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, said 2012 was a good year for the state’s farmers and ranchers, and she expects more of the same this year.

In an interview carried on her department’s website, Coba said the success of Oregon blueberries and recovery of the grass seed industry were among the year’s highlights. Oregon became the first state approved to ship fresh blueberries to South Korea. While the amount shipped is relatively small, the approval opens a key market and Coba predicted blueberry production will increase significantly over the next five years.

Grass seed sales are closely tied to development, and demand sank during the housing market crash and recession. But the price for seed picked up in 2012, primarily due to exports to China, Coba said.

Among other remarks, Coba said:

“I thought it was a great year overall. We’ll have to wait and see the official 2012 statistics once they are tabulated, but we learned that 2011 was a record year for Oregon agriculture, breaking the $5 billion mark in farmgate value. For me, it is extraordinary how quickly agriculture was able to rebound from the recession in 2008– which hit the industry very hard.

“Our nursery and greenhouse sector is recovering and we continue to be optimistic about the dairy sector. Kudos to our farmers and ranchers for breaking that $5 billion mark. It’s very reflective of their resiliency and ability to go through tough times and come out the other end.

“All indications are that 2012 was also a good year. The question is whether commodity prices stayed as strong as they were in 2011. We could have the same volume of production, but lower prices for some commodities. However, this is the season of annual meetings and one of my barometers for how things are going is what I hear as I meet with the various agriculture groups. The producers seem pretty happy with the way things are going, which is generally a very good sign.”

On January 11, 2013, Katy Coba will open the Dunn Carney Ag Summit at the Holiday Inn in Wilsonville.   For more information and to register please go to .

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