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Oregon farm income drops slightly in 2012

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Oregon farmers and ranchers are enjoying slightly less take home pay as net farm income is down slightly from the previous year:

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Oregon farmers and ranchers fell short last year of 2011’s near record bottom line, but many sectors of the state’s agricultural economy did well in 2012 according to Stephanie Page of the Oregon Department of Agriculture:

PAGE:  “Net farm income was down about 5 percent. But overall, it is holding steady and still at a much better level than it has been for the last few years.”  :10

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Despite a 5.2 percent drop from 2011, Oregon’s net farm income continues a general trend of recovery from the dark days of recession:

PAGE:  “You never like to go down. We’d like to see an average increase of 5 percent a year over time, as an average. So I don’t think a 5 percent decrease is a concern in just one year, but we sure want to see that continue to go up over time.”  :16

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A newly released economic snapshot of Oregon agriculture shows net farm income at nearly $960 million in 2012. That’s a drop from the more than 1 billion dollars recorded in 2011 but more than double the mark recorded in 2010. Higher cash receipts for both crops and livestock last year were offset by higher expenses, with labor continuing to be the biggest single cost to agricultural producers in Oregon. It’s too early to say what this year’s net farm income might be, but economists are forecasting an increase nationally. Hopefully, Oregon will follow suit. In Salem, I’m Bruce Pokarney.

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PAGE says expenses last year generally held steady, but they remain historically high over the past couple of decades:

“Feed costs were lower. So that’s very good news for livestock producers. But they are still very high compared with prices over the past 20 years. They’ve really gone up in the last few years.”  :11

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PAGE says even though Oregon’s net farm income is close to a billion dollars, that doesn’t mean farmers and ranchers are getting rich:

“It is very variable among our diverse farms here in Oregon, but the average for our 38,500 farms is about $25,000 in take home pay.”  :10

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