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Oregon net farm income approaches record high in 2011
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Oregon farmers and ranchers enjoyed one of the best bottom lines in recent times last year thanks to good production and high prices for many of the state’s crops and livestock:

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A newly released economic snapshot of 2011 confirms what many suspected, says Brent Searle, analyst with the Oregon Department of Agriculture:

SEARLE:  “Overall, it was a great year. We had over a billion dollars in net farm income. That doubled last year’s. So, a tremendous year for many sectors of the industry. The highest in many years, since 2004.”  :14

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Net farm income reflects the prices paid to growers for what they produce minus expenses. It essentially is the annual paycheck for the farmer and rancher. Boosted by outstanding crop and livestock sales last year, Oregon’s lofty bottom line would even be better if it weren’t for record high expenses:

SEARLE:  “Labor costs, employee costs, pay in Oregon– because we have so many specialty hand-harvest crops– is the single largest expense for farmers in Oregon. It’s over a billion dollars.”  :11

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While an overall net farm income of more than a billion dollars sounds great, that only averages out to about 27-thousand dollars per farmer in Oregon. Some did much better than the average, some did worse. But overall, 2011 was impressive for agriculture. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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SEARLE says last year’s bottom line was impressive for Oregon agriculture, but there remains some challenges to the farmer’s pocketbook:

“We did have a sizable increase in net farm income. But the total expenses were a record high as well.”  :06

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SEARLE says the statewide net farm income looks good, but that doesn’t mean all farmers and ranchers are making large amounts of money:

“On the whole, we’re doing better. So that’s good news. It’s not spread evenly across everybody. It’s not spread evenly across everybody. We do average calculations. The average farmer in Oregon this last year with our billion dollar net farm income earned $27,000.”  :16

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