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Report: Oregon Agriculture Lags Behind Neighboring States

OPB | Jan. 24, 2013 3:07 p.m. | Updated: Jan. 25, 2013 8:34 a.m. | Bend, Oregon

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A new report from Oregon’s Department of Agriculture shows the state’s “ag” industry lags behind those of Washington, Idaho and California.  But the report also recommends ways that lawmakers can boost the industry.

Early in this report, there’s a graph with red jagged line climbing like the edge of the Cascade Mountain Range.  That’s the value of Oregon’s agricultural output over the last quarter century.  Right now, it’s about $5 billion.  Below that is another line that looks more like the flatter parts of Eastern Oregon.  That’s what farmers actually take home in pay these days.   

Farm near Sublimity, Oregon

Farm near Sublimity, Oregon

Michael Clapp / OPB

Agriculture Department spokesman Bruce Pokarney says this report deals with the space between those lines — namely, the increasing costs borne by farmers to get their products to market.

“That gap, if there’s any way to narrow it and bring the bottom line up a little bit and get closer to that value of production, that would be a good thing,” says Pokarney.

Recommendations range from supporting efficient transport systems like rail and barge, to eliminating estate taxes for the transfer of family farms.

On the Web
Click here to view the full report

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