People of Northwest Public Radio
Fri February 21, 2014
Census Of Agriculture Shows Fewer Oregon Farms
New statistics from the US Department of Agriculture show the number of working farms in Oregon shrank by more than 8 percent between 2007 and 2012. The figures were included in preliminary data from the agency's 2012 Census of Agriculture.
Farms aren't just disappearing in Oregon, but all across the US. Still, the rate at which they're going away in Oregon is nearly twice what is nationwide.
When it comes to the loss of farmland, again, Oregon is in line with a larger national trend. But this time, it's the other way around. Oregon lost farmland at a rate that was lower than the national average.
Jim Johnson is with the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
He says the trends reflect the growth of Oregon cities and the expansion of urban growth boundaries.
"Most of the farms that we've lost have been smaller farms and most of the smaller farms tend to be closer into cities," said Johnson.
Johnson says more data will be released in May showing where those losses took place. His guess is the Willamette Valley, which is home to Oregon's largest cities and some of its most productive farmland.
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