Nursery business shrivels

Oregon’s nursery industry is hit hard by the collapse of home and business construction.

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Oregon’s nurseries enjoyed 18 years of steady growth, at one point even outpacing the cattle industry.

But following the downturn’s effects on home and building construction, state nurseries are now struggling to survive, a trend mirrored across the country.

In Oregon, the downturn was swift and stunning. The rich soil and mild climate of Oregon’s Willamette Valley is ideal for growing plants. And for 18 years, starting in 1990, the nursery industry steadily grew, reaching $988 million in sales in 2007. The nursery commodity outpaced cattle, then ranked second, by as much as $500 million that year.

Then the industry slammed into a swarm of trouble: the halt of home and business construction, high transportation costs, financial lending woes and a depressed national economy. Sales plunged 17 percent, to $820 million, in 2008. State leaders expect a similar drop for 2009.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.

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