Oregon Fruit Crops See Big Year in 2011

New statistics released by the federal government demonstrate what Oregonians already know: when it comes to the ripe fruits of summer, there's nowhere better to be than Oregon. And 2011 was an especially good year for Oregon fruit growers.

Nearly 100 percent of the nation's blackberries, black raspberries, boysenberries, and marionberries were grown in Oregon in 2011, the USDA reports. Blackberries in particular saw a huge increase in production value, from $33.2 million in 2010 to $42.7 million last year. About 7,300 acres are dedicated to blackberries in Oregon. (This number includes marionberries, which are a cultivar of blackberries.) 

Reviewing the new federal statistics, the Oregon Department of Agriculture observes that "perhaps the brightest star in Oregon agriculture continues to be blueberries," which broke new records last year for acreage, production, and value, as Oregon emerged as the nation's second-largest producer of the fruit.

The statistics also list Oregon as a top-five producer of cranberries, strawberries, sweet cherries, pears, and plums, and a top-ten producer of apples. The state also produces the nation's entire crop of hazelnuts, which had a total production value of $89.7 million last year, the highest in three years.

When reviewing the production value of Oregon crops, keep in mind that their total economic impact extends far beyond total sales, creating jobs on and off the farm, in rural and urban areas. Fruit and nut growers need equipment, shipping, and processing services to successfully grow, harvest, and market their products. Overall, agriculture contributes more than $22 billion to the state's economy, holding firm as Oregon's second-largest industry.

This industry depends on good land, land that can't be replaced once it is lost. Farmers need to know that the investments they make in their land are secure from development pressures that would harm their livelihood.

Oregon land use planning helps give farmers the security they need to invest in their land and grow the crops we all enjoy. 1000 Friends works around the state's unparalleled farming areas to make sure this productivity is not squandered. Learn more about the role of land use planning in your community at friends.org/LandUseIs.

The new statistics, released by the US Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), rank states by their production of non-citrus fruits and nuts.

For more information, read this news release from the Oregon Department of Agriculture.