Storms Setting Some Oregon Growers Back

The state of Oregon endured one of its worst winter storms in years late last month, resulting in hundreds, if not thousands, of damaged greenhouses that could not withstand the weight of snow and ice that built up on their roofs. The Oregon Association of Nurseries (OAN) estimates millions of dollars of damages.

OAN asked its members to complete an online survey about damage to their businesses, and it learned 160 growers in 12 Oregon counties reported that the cost of damage to structures and crops ranges from $18 to $31 million. Growers reported the total estimated cost to repair or replace greenhouses and structures equals $10.8 million. OAN is now seeking disaster relief in 12 counties.

“Our growers are self reliant and unaccustomed to government assistance,” says OAN President Tom McNabb. “But during these tough economic times, when banks are more cautious about making farm loans, we need access to federal assistance. This could not have come at a worse time for Oregon nursery and greenhouse growers.

“The rebuilding process needs to happen pretty quickly, so we’re trying to push people to make decisions before we get into spring shipping.”

In the survey, OAN asked its members to provide low and high estimates for crop damage because many plants are still in winter dormancy. “Given the nature of our industry, the full extent of crop damage may not be fully known until spring, when plants begin to show new growth,” McNabb says.

For more information on the situation in Oregon, click here.

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