Federal aid blossoms: Oregon cherry industry receives assistance after tough year

Federal aid blossoms: Oregon cherry industry receives assistance after tough year

cherry oregon
Federal government has declared a natural disaster
cherry oregon

Oregon´s federal government has declared a natural disaster and is providing aid to Oregon’s cherry industry following a challenging year. According to the local website Oregon Capital Chronicle, cherry farmers in nine counties, including Clackamas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jefferson, Marion, Multnomah, Sherman, Wasco, and Wheeler, will have access to federal loans and assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to mitigate losses incurred during the 2023 growing season. The announcement comes after farmers experienced one of the shortest cherry growing seasons on record, with production down 35% due to adverse weather conditions, including a long cool spring with excessive rain followed by rapid heating and drought.

Oregon House Speaker Kotek emphasized the significance of the federal designation in providing support to farmers who faced substantial economic losses. Farmers have an eight-month window to apply for USDA loans and aid through the Farm Service Agency.

The declaration follows a request made by Kotek to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for an emergency declaration in September. The Oregon sweet cherry industry, which saw a significant drop in production from nearly $134 million in 2020 to $65 million in 2021, has faced challenges not only from adverse weather but also from market fluctuations. Prices for cherries plummeted from $1.10 per pound in the summer of 2022 to less than 55 cents per pound last summer, attributed to smaller fruit harvests and increased competition from California’s delayed harvest season.

Read the full article at Oregon Capital Chronicle

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