By David Bates • Staff Writer • 

Along the Street: Oregon's organic acreage up despite drop in organic farmers

Organic acreage has surged in Oregon even as the number of organic farmers has shrunk in recent years, according to new data from the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service.

The total number of organic farms in the state decreased 18 percent, from 657 to 525, between 2008 and 2014, according to the statistics. But acreage has nearly doubled in Oregon, from 105,600 to 204,000.

According to Dave Losh, Oregon’s state statistician for the NASS, there was a sharp decline in the number of farmers earning less than $25,000 in annual revenue, while the number of those with sales of more than $250,000 grew.

“The smaller folks are having a harder time and the larger operations are getting bigger,” Losh said, noting that the trend is occurring in overall agriculture as well.

Oregon is near the top of the list in sales of organic farm products, with $237 million in 2014. Nationally, crops represent 60 percent of organic sales, livestock products such as milk and eggs represent 28 percent and livestock represents 12 percent.

 

Crab prices set for 2016

Oregon Dungeness crab fishermen and seafood processors have agreed on an opening price of $2.90 per pound for 2016 along the Oregon coast, set to begin next week. State regulators have approved the agreement, according to the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

Crabbers will begin placing their pots Jan 1 in preparation for next week’s opening.Dungeness crab is the most valuable commercial product on the Oregon coast. Last season’s harvest produced landings of 8.3 million pounds and an ‘ex-vessel’ value of $33 million dollars. Officials say this year’s harvest of Oregon Dungeness crab is expected to be good.

 

Local lottery winners

Matthew McKillip of St. Paul was one of more than 400 people in the Yamhill County area who won an Oregon Lottery drawing of more than $600 during 2015. 

McKillip won $56,026 playing the Keno 8-spot in March. He said the win came just two weeks before his birthday, and he had plans for a new pickup. 

“I have three kids, so I will probably spend it on them though,” McKillip said after learning of his win. McKillip was the typical Oregon Lottery winner. He joined 70 people who won more than $600 playing Keno at retailers in the county, who won a combined total of $179,804, but they weren’t the group with the most wins. 

Locally, 309 video lottery players in Yamhill County won $724,089 during 2015. Scratch-it winners, including Jacob Berg from Newberg, who won $200,000, brought home a combined $335,977 in winnings. There were 16 Oregon’s Game Megabucks players who won a combined $19,620 and three Mega Millions players who won $1,091. 

Lottery officials remind players to always sign the back of their tickets, regardless of the game. In the event of winning a jackpot, winners are advised to consult with a trusted financial planner or similar professional to develop a plan for their winnings. Prize winners of more than $50,000 should contact the Lottery office to schedule an appointment to claim their prize.

 

— David Bates is the News-Register’s business editor. He can be reached at dbates@newsregister.com or 503-687-1228.

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