The state of Oregon made national headlines earlier this year, when the Bureau of Reclamation announced that the Klamath Project, an irrigation system spanning southern Oregon and Northern California, was not going to receive any water deliveries for the first time since the project’s creation in 1907.
Oregon is one of the most agriculturally diverse states in the nation, producing over 225 commodities across several different growing regions. For instance, the state ranks first in the nation for hazelnuts. Farm-level agricultural receipts contribute more than $5 billion to Oregon’s economy with an estimated total added value of $28 billion when accounting for total supply chain benefits. Oregon is also known for fruit, berries and vegetables.
Drought has affected all of Oregon’s diverse commodities and growing regions, from the normally wet coastal region to the arid southeastern part of the state. Presently, 99% of the state is in D2 (severe) drought, 77% in D3 (extreme) drought, and 27% is in D4 (exceptional) drought, the most severe drought risk category.
While some farmers were lucky enough to avoid disaster, there is no escaping the impacts from this year’s drought. In the normally wet coastal and Willamette Valley regions, yields are down as much as 50% on unirrigated land, which is the majority of agricultural land in this typically wet part of the state.