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Agriculture remains a key player in all 36 Oregon counties

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New statistics show a record high sales figure for Oregon agriculture this past year, which is good news for many local economies:

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Audio 01
The numbers for ag sales in 2012 have been compiled by Oregon State University, and they show dramatic growth thanks to high prices and good yields for many crops and livestock:

JOHNSON:  “The value of agricultural production in Oregon in 2012 was up to $5.48 billion. Agriculture in Oregon continues to be a bright spot in the economy. Overall, it was a great year for most of the counties. Twenty-five of the state’s 36 counties actually increased their agricultural value of production.”  :17

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Jim Johnson of the Oregon Department of Agriculture says the usual counties remain in the top ten, even though they continue to jockey for position with some rapidly growing ag counties:

JOHNSON:  “Marion County continues to be the powerhouse. The top five counties include the perennial powerhouses still. They’ve moved around a little bit, but you’ve still got Marion up there at the top and Morrow moving fast. In fact, Morrow– it’s just a matter of time, in my opinion, before they become the second highest producing county in the state.”  :17

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The top ten include Marion, Umatilla, Morrow, Malheur, and Clackamas counties followed by Linn, Washington, Klamath, Yamhill, and Polk. Of those, only Umatilla recorded a slight drop in ag sales with Malheur recording the biggest gains of all counties. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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JOHNSON says for years the top ag counties were dominated by the Willamette Valley, but Eastern Oregon has made a nice comeback in recent times:

“They’ve also not just come back but expanded. When you look at the growth of high value crop production in irrigated agriculture in Morrow, Umatilla, and Malheur counties, to me that is economic development in the truest sense.”  :15

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JOHNSON says despite the gains of Eastern Oregon, nearly half of the state’s agricultural production still takes place in the Willamette Valley:

“Marion County is by far number one. It’s not even close. As strong as the Eastern Oregon counties are doing, Marion County is still the heart of Oregon’s agricultural industrial park, which is the Willamette Valley. These counties like Marion, Clackamas, Washington counties that are not only productive agricultural counties, but they’re urban counties.”  :19

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