Pear Numbers Shrinking In Oregon


        If you thought pears were one of Oregon's top 10 agriculture commodities you thought wrong.

        Number one on the top 10 agriculture list for commodities is greenhouse products closely followed by cattle, pears just missed the cut, in 11th place.

        Ron Meyers is a pear grower in the Rogue Valley and his family has been farming for more than a century. Meyers says he has noticed the changes in the pear industry.
Meyers explained there are several reasons why pears aren't as big as they used to be.

        "When my grandfather moved here in 1910 there were 400 pear growers and now they're might be 15," he said.

        Meyers says growers here in the valley are facing world wide competition. "The problem is that there's other districts that have planted a lot of pears and so we have a lot of domestic competition as well as imports from the South America and New Zealand and Australia.", he said. Meyers says in the juice market he also faces stiff competition from China.

        Despite world wide pressure the northwest still exports 30 percent of the usa pears. Even with a good crop though Meyers says the recession is hurting farmers, "the Northwest produced a history making crop last year the biggest one ever but with the slow economy it was a really tough year," he said.

        Meyers says this is a big reason why acreage continues to shrink. The farmer says the valley once had 12,000 orchard acres and now has around 5,000 but Meyers say he isn't giving up yet.

        "We are one of those stubborn farmers that think it must get better someday," he said.

        Meyers says while pears may not have made the top 10 list, it's still not time to throw in the towel.