Christmas Trees Getting Ready for the Season

Christmas Trees Getting Ready for the Season

Christmas Trees Getting Ready for the Season. I’m Greg Martin with today’s Line On Agriculture.
I sure hate to bring this up but are you aware that the holidays are only a little less than 2 months away? The harvest season is still several weeks away, but a new survey shows that Oregon's Christmas tree industry remains number one in US production. Results from the survey show that 2008 ended up being a pretty good year for Oregon's eighth ranked commodity.

OSTLUND:  We've seen it before where sales generally are strong in down economies. That proved to be true last year- a nice bump in sales, several hundred thousand trees more last year than in previous years.

Bryan Ostlund of the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Growers Association says during tough economic times, people tend to stay home more over the holidays and enjoy a traditional celebration that includes a Christmas tree. Overall, more than seven million Oregon Christmas trees were sold last year at a value of nearly 110 million dollars. But the survey also captures what is still in the ground and forecasts what might be coming up in the future.

OSTLUND:  We see, looking well into the future out at least seven years, you can see a pretty big dip in our production numbers.
The total number of trees planted dropped from 9.7 million in 2002 to just a little more than six million trees last year, which shouldn't jeopardize Oregon's status as a leading Christmas tree producer, but is a trend the industry will want to watch closely as it tries to match supply with demand.

Ostlund says Oregon's Christmas tree growers had planted more Noble firs the past few years, but now things are starting to balance out.

OSTLUND: We find ourselves today in a position, as those inventories work through the cycle, where we are really getting short on Douglas fir. As we watch new planting numbers, growers are coming back to a better balance of the true fir species- Noble fir, Grand fir, and Douglas fir.

Ostlund says the survey shows last year was pretty good for Oregon's Christmas tree industry considering the impact of the recession.

OSTLUND: I'm pleased to see that our numbers went up last year. There has been a lot of pressure in recent years in some of our markets with any number of things, and the economy is certainly one of them.  Even though we project that Christmas tree sales are strong in a down economy, you never really know that until you get through the season.

That’s today’s Line On Agriculture. I’m Greg Martin on the Northwest Ag Information Network.


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