Oregon's farmers and ranchers grossed $4.3 billion in sales last year, a 3.8 percent rebound from a dismal 2009, according to estimates in an Oregon State University report, which is released annually.

"In general, prices for agricultural commodities in 2010 were higher than the surprisingly low prices in 2009, but sales did not spring back as much as we hoped,” said Larry Burt, the OSU Extension Service economist who compiled the report. It contains preliminary estimates for gross farmgate sales for 2010 and revised numbers for 2009 and 2008.

Gross farmgate sales plunged 15 percent in 2009 over the previous year, marking the biggest percentage drop observed in more than three decades.

Crops, which made up 67 percent of all sales, dipped slightly in 2010. But the mere 0.5 percent decrease to $2.86 billion was more than offset by sales of livestock, dairy products and poultry – which made up the remaining 33 percent – that increased 13.6 percent to $1.42 billion.

Eight of the 12 broad commodity groups in the report showed increases in sales in 2010 compared with the previous year.

The tree fruit and nut sector was up 3.6 percent to $310.1 million in 2010. Winter pears, however, were negatively affected by adverse weather, which reduced yields in some counties, Burt said.

The vegetable and truck crop sector increased to $294.5 million in sales, 2.6 percent higher than in 2009.

Sales of grass and legume seeds fell 16.2 percent to $255.9 million from 2009.

“Sales of grass seed continue to be down and it’s tied to the recession,” said Bill Young, the statewide seed specialist with OSU Extension. “There are fewer new houses and lawns to plant. People are golfing less, and some golf courses that have used Oregon seed are closing or using less seed."

The poultry sector continued to grow. In 2010, sales of chickens, broilers and chicken eggs were $142.7 million, 9.2 percent higher than in 2009.

Sales of small fruits and berries were $108.1 million, up 10 percent from 2009. In 2010, blueberries had a major turnaround, with prices 42 percent higher than in 2009.

Of the 82 individual commodities listed in the report, 35 increased in sales compared with 2009.