Since its early settlement, Oregon’s natural resources have formed the basis of its economy. Vast forests have made lumber and wood products. This is the leading industry in the state. According to reports, agriculture is the second biggest industry in the state.
Reports show that one out of every eight Oregonians work on a farm or farm-related activity. With all these people working for this particular agency, sales figures show the processing, shipping and distribution plants, joined by equipment dealers, supply stores, restaurants and food service companies, churn $5.48 billion worth of farm and ranch products into $22 billion in goods and services annually.
Eighty percent of what Oregon grows leaves the state; and half of that goes overseas. Compared to Midwest competitors, Oregon farmers stand at the doorstep of Asia’s vibrant economies, and engage in brisk trade with China, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Indonesia. One Willamette Valley potato grower has been on three trade missions to Vietnam in the past two years.
These numbers are a result of the state government’s strive to shift Oregon’s main products from lumber based to more of an agricultural based. Reports show that the state economy’s annual growth rate accelerating from 5.6% in 1998, to 7.2% in 1999 to 10% in 2000.
While the numbers continue to look promising for the economy of Oregon, experts still believe there is still a lot of work to be done. Oregon needs to shelter its blooming agricultural economy while regularizing its limited lumber and wood products industry.