February 2010

February 16th

Organic certifier Oregon Tilth has agreed to provide funding to Oregon State University's small farms program so that it can weather budget cuts and continue its research and educational efforts for organic farmers. With the funds, the small farms program will be able to continue offering its "Growing Farms" workshops for new farmers; researching cover crops on farms in the Willamette Valley; and organizing an annual educational workshop in Canby for farmers. It will allow OSU to assess organic farmers' needs in terms of research and knowledge.

February 9th

Oregon State University announced the creation of a new aroma hop breeding program within the OSU Department of Crop and Soil Science, made possible by an $807,000 gift pledge from Indie Hops, an Oregon-based hop merchant. This gift comes in addition to $200,000 from Indie Hops to Thomas Shellhammer, holder of the Nor’Wester Professorship in Fermentation Science in OSU’s Department Food Sciences and Technology, to foster research in new techniques for developing aroma hops and to study aroma hop chemistry.

February 8th

Oregon's farmers and ranchers grossed $4.1 billion in sales last year, a 14.8 percent plunge from the prior year as prices weakened in key commodities, according to estimates in a report by the Oregon State University Extension Service. It's the biggest percentage drop that Extension has recorded since at least 1976, the earliest year in its online database. The next highest percentage drop was in 1998 when sales fell 5.8 percent. Gross sales in 2008, which had grown for five consecutive years between 2003 and 2007, fell 0.2 percent to a revised $4.8 billion, according to the annual report. Nine of the 12 broad commodity groups in the report declined in sales in 2009 from the previous year. Of the 80 individual commodities listed in the report, 50 decreased in sales compared with 2008. Oregon's top five individual agricultural commodities all declined in sales last year.