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Oregon's agricultural comeback continues

State's net farm income topped $1 billion in 2011
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Randy Wenick bales grass in a field near Mount Vernon. The foothills of the Aldrich Mountains are in the background. Wenick says the bales will be used as winter feed for cattle.
 Posted: 2:00 AM September 17, 2012

Oregon's net farm income topped $1 billion in 2011, nearly twice what it was in 2010, according to a new economic analysis by the state Department of Agriculture.

Net farm income — crop or livestock revenue minus expenses such as fuel, feed, labor, equipment and fertilizer — has been improving the past couple years after several years of sharp decline, the ag department said in a news release.

As good as 2011 was, the record for net farm income still belongs to 2004, when it hit $1.14 billion.

Beef and dairy operations did particularly well in 2011, with production values increasing 34 percent and 28 percent, respectively.

Wheat sales set a record at $466 million. Hay, corn, barley, sweet cherries and blueberries all had strong sales, according to the department.

That doesn't mean all farmers are rolling in money, however.

"On the whole, we are doing better, and that's the good news," department economist Brent Searle said in a news release. "But the income gains are not spread across all producers. The average farmer in Oregon last year earned $27,000, even with an overall net farm income for the state exceeding a billion dollars."

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