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Ag Sales Drop As Prices Stay Low

Oregon's agricultural sales in 2009 saw their biggest drop in 33 years according to Oregon State University. Kristian Foden-Vencil reports.

Sales data make for grim reading. Crop sales were down 17 percent. Livestock and dairy were down 10 percent. Fruit and berries were worst hit, with sales down more than 40 percent.

OSU economist, Larry Burt, says he's never seen anything like it.

Larry Burt: "It was very surprising to me to have such a drop. There were a lot of things that came together that were negative in too many industries."

Burt says the recession reduced demand for agricultural produce, which drove down prices. Then, because farmers didn't want to sell at such low prices, a lot of produce landed in  storage.

Burt says what's in storage will have to be sold before prices can start to increase again. 

But the report wasn't all doom and gloom.

The price of sugarbeets rose 135 percent. That plus an increase in harvested acreage put smiles on the face of a few lucky farmers.

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