The Herald of Everett, Washington
Customer service  |  Subscribe   |   Log in or sign up   |   Advertising information   |   Contact us

The top local business stories in your email

Contact Us:

Josh O'Connor
Phone: 425-339-3007

Maureen Bozlinski
General Sales Manager
Phone: 425-339-3445
Fax: 425-339-3049

Jim Davis
Phone: 425-339-3097

Site address:
1800 41st Street, S-300,
Everett, WA 98203

Mailing address:
P.O. Box 930
Everett, WA 98206

HBJ RSS feeds

Slump ends, Christmas tree growers say

SHARE: facebook Twitter icon Linkedin icon Google+ icon Email icon |  PRINTER-FRIENDLY  |  COMMENTS
Associated Press
SILVERTON, Ore. -- Christmas tree growers in the Northwest say the business looks a little greener this year after a slump that drove out a substantial number of producers.
The story is common in agricultural markets: Business gets good, new investors and producers flock in, supply goes up and prices go down, then there's a shakeout, and finally business gets better.
Growers tell the agricultural publication Capital Press that after a seven-year slide, prices are up slightly, and inventory is moving.
"I'm hearing from a lot of growers that not only are they sold out, they are oversold," said Bryan Ostlund, executive director of the Pacific Northwest Christmas Tree Association. "They are starting to cut into next year's inventory ... We haven't heard comments like that for a long time."
Oregon leads the nation in Christmas tree production. Washington is sixth.
Growers said investors, many new to the industry, planted millions of trees in the early 2000s to take advantage of a strong market. Seven years later, the noble fir and Douglas fir trees reached market size, the market was flooded, and prices plummeted.
"It was bad enough that we lost over half of the growers that had over 100 acres of production in Christmas trees," said McKenzie "Ken" Cook of McKenzie Farms in Estacada, Ore.
"Six years ago, there were over 110 growers in that category. Today that number is less than 50," he said.
The total of Christmas trees in the ground in the Northwest has dropped from about 85 million four or five years ago to about 75 million, Cook said. Growers typically harvest about 10 percent of their trees a year.
Prices dropped 35 percent from their peak in 2004 to their low last year, growers said. Producers said prices are now up 2 percent to 3 percent -- not enough to sustain them, but they expect better prices over the next two years.
John Tillman of Northwest Plantations in Elma is looking forward to that.
"The people who have stuck it out, who have made a living at this through thick and thin, at this point, I think we deserve to be rewarded a little bit for our perseverance and our ability to serve customers with the trees that they need, and to get through these times," he said.
Story tags » FarmsChristmas



Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus

Market roundup