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Oregon Coast Agriculture Economy

The Oregon Coast is established for producing certain goods that power the economy for the whole state. The biggest agricultural products are:
- Fishing
- Crabbing and other Shellfish
- Dairy products
- Cranberries
- Easter Lilies

Each of these products contribute to their local economies as well as Oregon economy as a whole.

Fishing on the Oregon Coast historically is known to be immensely productive, although many factors are coming into play that may change that. Even though these held traditions are being challenged, commercial fishing continues to flourish in Oregon. The Oregon Department of Employment reports "Oregon's commercial fishing industry had another good year in 2009. Total landed value increased by about $3 million from 2008. The gain in the value of the Dungeness crab harvest offset declines in revenue from salmon, pink shrimp and whiting--which is used to make artificial crab meat. Here are some figures from 2009 that represent the value of these commodities. 

Oregon commercial fish landings 2009

Type of fishery                        Pounds                       Value                          

Groundfish                             41,395,800                 $28,525,000                              Crab                                     13,006,897                 $26,069,000                               Tuna                                    10,126,577                 $10,243,000                               Shrimp                                  22,252,491                   $8,208,000                             Whiting                                 63,975,351                   $4,131,000                               Salmon                                   2,317,882                   $3,576,000                               Other                                    50,039,624                   $7,766,000                                Total                                     203,114,622                $88,518,000

Oregon is currently ranked #1 in Dungeness Crab production with 34% of all production in the US. Groundfish and Crab landings are Oregon's 24th and 25th of Oregon's top 40 commodities with a value of $28,525,000, and $26,069,000 respectively. Shrimp landings are 34th and the same list with a value of $8,208,000.

The Oregon coast is also renowned for it dairy production. The most well known is the Tillamook Cheese company. Most of the 150 dairy farms and approximately 26,150 cows that make up the creamery association are family operations. Since the creamery association was founded in 1909 as a dairymen's cooperative, it has grown to produce more than 78 million pounds of cheese annually, along with other products. Milk and other dairy products accounted for $800,000 worth of exports in 2008, and were #5 on Oregon's top 40 commodities with a value of $307,976,00.
Along the south coast near Bandon and Port Orford is the famous cranberry production area. Oregon cranberries are known for their bright red color obtained from the mild climate of the area. A few berries are also found north of Tillamook along the coast but they are far fewer in number. In Bandon is the Ocean Spray receiving station which is able to handle large numbers of cranberries each harvest. Independent operations are becoming more common as well and building their own warehouses to handle berries. Oregon's cranberry production has remained relatively constant over the years. Acreage planted in cranberries has stayed in the general range of about 2,700 acres– nearly 1,700 in Coos County and the rest in Curry County– and annual production the past five years has maintained a level between 450,000 and 500,000 barrels. That is far behind Wisconsin's 3.8 million barrels and Massachusetts' 1.5 million barrels, but puts Oregon close to New Jersey as the nation's third leading cranberry producer.

What has changed drastically over the past decade is the price paid to the growers and, from 1999 through 2002, a notable decrease in production. Last year's average price per barrel was $64. But in 2004 and 2005, the price was $34 per barrel. Times were even tougher in 2001 when the production level dipped below 300,000 barrels and the average price reached only $21 per barrel. In 2009, cranberries were ranked 29th in Oregon's top 40 commodities with a value of  $18,743,00.

Oregon's southern coast is considered the capital for Easter Lily bulbs. Today over 95% of all bulbs grown for the potted Easter Lily market are produced by just ten farms in a narrow coastal region straddling the California-Oregon border, from Smith River, California up to Brookings, Oregon. The Easter Lillies that start out as bulbs on the Oregon coast become the fourth largest crop in wholesale value in the United Sates when in the pot plant market, behind poinsettias, mums and azaleas. Of these four top crops, the Easter Lily has the narrowest holiday sales window, typically only 2 weeks. The poinsettia has a holiday sales window of approximately 6 weeks, and mums and azaleas are available year-round. These Easter Lillies contribute to the #1 Oregon commodity, which is  Greenhouse and nursery products with a value of  $732,570,000. These Easter Lillies also contributed to the  $41,000,00 of exported nursery products in 2008. 

The Oregon coast proves to be a very productive part of an agriculturally powerful state. This figure represents gross farms sales by district and county in 2010.

District and County                  All Crops    All Animal Products      Total
Clatsop                                          3,630,000          15,539,000            19,169,000
Columbia                                      15,949,000            3,725,000            19,674,000
Coos                                            12,206,000          18,029,000             30,235,000
Curry                                             9,450,000            3,498,000              12,948,000
Lincoln                                           8,150,000            2,076,000              10,226,000
Tillamook                                        2,770,000        118,643,000            121,413,000

Coastal                              52,155,000    161,510,000        213,665,000