Oregon crops reach $5.4 billion in value

Cattle and calves, followed by greenhouse and nursery plants, again paced Oregon crop values in 2015, the state ag department reported.

Preliminary figures assembled by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service show the state with a crop value of $5.4 billion in 2015, similar to the previous two years, Oregon Department of Agriculture spokesman Bruce Pokarney said in a news release.

The statistics showed sharp drops in some crop values due to market conditions. Hay and milk values dropped by $100 million and $180 million, respectively, compared to 2014, but are still much higher than 10 years ago.

The greenhouse and nursery sector, which by itself was valued at $1 billion in 2007 before the recession hit, continues its gradual recovery. The industry hit a low of $667 million in 2010, but stood at $894 million in 2015. Grass seed, which is also tightly tied to housing and development and sank during the recession, is back to the value it achieved in 2005.

Oregon’s wine grape sector has shown “easily the most astonishing growth” over the past 10 years, according to the department. Production value was at $36 million in 2005, but has grown by 308 percent since then and in 2015 was estimated at $147 million. “No other Oregon agricultural commodity has seen a higher increase,” ODA reported.

Oregon Wine Board spokeswoman Michelle Kaufmann said the number of wineries in Oregon has increased 45 percent since 2011.

Here’s the state’s top 10:

1. Cattle and calves, $914 million

2. Greenhouse and nursery products, $894 million

3. Hay, $604 million

4. Milk, $474 million

5. Grass seed, $383 million

6. Wheat, $217 million

7. Potatoes, $176 million

8. Pears, $152 million

9. Wine grapes, $147 million

10. Onions, $125 million

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