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Matt Cyrus, President, Oregon Family Farm Association.

Matt Cyrus, President, Oregon Family Farm Association.

Oregon has been the nation’s top moving destination state three years in a row.  This wave now includes California farmers looking for a better harvest.  The last few years, growers in Central Oregon and the Willamette Valley have seen large-scale nut growers scoping out the area. According to a recent article by The Globe and Mail, California farmers looking to Oregon may only increase.  That’s in large part because Oregon has an abundance of what its neighbor to the south lacks—water.

The Globe and Mail article quotes Oregon State University associate professor emeritus and horticulturist Ross Penhallegon, who notes that Oregon is seeing an “influx” of California farmers actively inquiring about possibilities in Oregon, where the soil is good and rainfall is plenty.

One has to go back at least five years to understand Oregon’s appeal.  That’s the last time California didn’t experience below average rainfall. In fact, California has been in a drought-induced state of emergency since the beginning of 2014.  The toll on the state’s agricultural industry is enormous—billions of dollars in production lost annually and more than a million acres of farmland left unusable and idle.  Though California remains by far the largest producer of fruits, vegetables and nuts in the country—supplying roughly half of the United State’s total—there is increasing concern that too much of the United State’s food supply is dependent there. Calls to “de- Californify” the supply are growing.

What California’s agriculture plight means for Oregon’s growers remains uncertain. One thing seems pretty clear, however.  Expect to see more California farmers looking to Oregon for salvation