Ideally located halfway between the North Pole and the Equator, with distinct seasons suited for grass seed production, Oregon is the world’s largest producer of cool-season forage seed. Grass seed production is one of the state’s leading agricultural crops. In 2014, Grass seed was ranked 5th among Oregon’s top commodities at an estimated value of $449 million. Over half of the Willamette Valley is sown to forage grass seed. The northern end of the Willamette Valley produces Tall Fescue and Perennial Ryegrass, the southern portion of the valley is covered in Annual Ryegrass, and many fine fescues are grown in the hills around Silverton. Nearly all of the grass seed produced in Oregon is cool-season turf and forage seed crops. The principle varieties of grass seed produced in Oregon are: Ryegrass, Orchardgrass, Kentucky Bluegrass, Bentgrass and Fescue.
Most of the grass seed farms are owned by farmers who were born and raised on their family farm. They grew up loading and driving trucks, cleaning seed and driving tractors, swathers and combines. The family business and farm was then later learned and passed down from one generation to another. Children of farmers usually stay on the farm to continue the family tradition of farming, brining new ways of technology to the farm.
For current statistics please go to Oregon Department of Agriculture website http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/
Under Ag Statistics there is a facts and figures brochure for Oregon Commodities: http://oregon.gov/ODA/docs/pdf/pubs/ff.pdf