Oregon shines in national Census of Agriculture

By Tracy Loew, Statesman Journal

Hood River leads the nation in pear production. Clackamas County harvests the most Christmas trees in the country. And Umatilla County grows the most green peas nationwide.

In fact, Oregon counties show up 113 times in theCensus of Agriculture’s top 50 lists.

“There are more than 3,000 counties nationwide, and for us to show up in the top 50 in so many categories is a great testimony to the industry we have in Oregon, said Katy Coba, director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture completes the census every five years. Data for 2012 was recently released.

Marion County is an agricultural powerhouse, with 10 commodities ranking in the top 50 nationwide.

Overall, Marion County ranks No. 36 nationally in total crop value and No. 71 in total agricultural production.

There were 2,567 farms in Marion County in 2012, down 73 from the previous census in 2007. The number of acres also fell, from 307,647 to 286,194, or 7 percent.

Oregon also is tied for sixth nationwide for the number of organic farms.

Lane County leads the way with 60 organic growers, followed by Clackamas with 53, Yamhill, Linn and Jackson with 36 each, and Marion with 35.

The annual market values of organic products in Oregon increased from $88 million to $194 million between 2007 and 2012, according to census figures.

“We’ve seen strong growth in specialty food processors using local organic ingredients in their products,” said Lindsay Eng, ODA’s director for market access and certification program.

The original article published on the Statesman Journal can be found here