Oregon ag director bullish on 2013

01/02/2013 01:37:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

Oregon agriculture enjoyed a banner year in 2012, and the state's department of agriculture director is optimistic that the trend will continue this year.

Kathy Coba, who has served as the state's ag director for 10 years, bases her predictions on meetings with several agricultural groups, according to a news release.

The actual 2012 farmgate figures won't be out for some months. In 2011, the state broke the $5 billion mark.

Coda points to several shining stars of 2012, including blueberriees and grass seed.

Oregon is the first and still the only state to be able to export fresh blueberries into South Korea.

Although the actual volume is small, Coba said projects show it increasingly significantly during the next five years.

"I look at blueberries as a bellwether for Oregon berries in general," she said in the release.

Prices for grass seed, another Oregon crop, neared all-time record highs, thanks in large part to exports to China.

Unknowns on the horizon include the new five-year farm bill and immigration.

Oregon was able to take advantage of the farm bill's conservation funding for water quality-improvement projects as well as research funding for Oregon State University.

In addition, the state benefited from the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and the Market Access Program.

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