Thursday, January 21, 2010

Idaho Ag News



Despite Overall Drop in Idaho Ag, a golden lining
Boise--John Hammel, Dean of the University of Idaho College of Agriculture told the Joint Legislative Outlook and Revenue Assessment Committee that Idaho Agriculture dropped 17-percent in 2009, the biggest single year drop in four decades

Most of the biggest losses came on the livestock side of Idaho Agriculture. But crops like sugar beets made what could have been a sour year sweet. The 2009 beet crop should top $252 million, up an amazing 72 percent from 2008. Production came in at 5.59 million tons, up 54 percent from 2008 and the average price for the 2009 crop is forecast to be up 11-percent

Potatoes continue to be the state's number one crop with revenues in 2009 estimated at a healthy $796 million some 2-percent higher than a year ago.Although prices were down 1 percent, production was up 12 percent to 131 million hundredweight.

Barley was up 12 percent despite the fact that production was down 3 percent, market prices were up 5 percent.But not all crops were golden. Hay producers saw sales drop 40 percent to $406 million as market prices tumbled 28 percent and production fell by 3 percent.

Wheat, the state's number two crop, saw production increase by 1 percent but prices fall by 35 percent. Wheat income was down by 28 percent compared to the previous year. Onions were up 43 percent in 2009 with production just 5 percent, but prices soared to 46 percent.

Barley was up 12 percent despite the fact that production was down 3 percent, prices hiked up 5 percent. But not all crops were golden. Hay growers saw cash receipts fall by 40 percent to $406 million as prices tumbled 28 percent and production fell by 3 percent.

Dairy remains the state's largest agricultural revenue producer despite watching prices fall by 32 percent. The state's dairy industry brought in $698 million less in 2009 than 2008.

Despite the relative weakness of agriculture in 2009, Ag remains the number one industry in the Gem State. Agricultural business accounted for $21 billion in sales and 157,000 jobs last year. In comparison, high tech had $20.6 billion in sales and 115,000 jobs.

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