2017 Census of Agriculture – Gilliam County

by Dallas Fridley

October 18, 2019

The market value of agricultural products sold in Gilliam County totaled $26.7 million in 2017, a drop of 39 percent compared with 2012. Crops represented 70 percent or $18.6 million and livestock, poultry, and products 30 percent or $8.0 million. Gilliam County’s 2017 agricultural product sales ranked 30th out of 36 counties in Oregon, while Marion County earned the top spot with $702 million.
With 153 farms operating in 2017, agricultural product sales per farm averaged $174,239, about 31 percent higher than Oregon’s $133,104. Gilliam County’s average per farm sales ranked 10th in Oregon, while Morrow County’s $1.6 million led the state.

Not every farm averaged $174,239 in agricultural product sales. Around 40 percent or 61 Gilliam County farms produced sales under $2,500 annually, while operations with sales of $100,000 or more represented about 37 percent. Farms in the $100,000 or more groups brought in $25 million in 2017 or 94 percent of Gilliam County’s total.

Gilliam County’s top crop in 2017, wheat for grain, covered 77,453 acres. Gilliam County ranked fourth in Oregon for its wheat acreage, right behind Sherman County, Morrow County, and top ranking Umatilla County. The market value of Gilliam County’s grains, oilseeds, dry beans, and dry peas reached $15.6 million in 2017, ranking sixth in Oregon. Cattle and calves led Gilliam County’s livestock inventory with 10,665 head in 2017 and $7.6 million in 2017 sales.
Farm production expenses in Gilliam County averaged $196,354 in 2017. In addition to sales, 84 percent of Gilliam County farms received government payments, averaging $60,003 per farm. Net cash income per farm averaged $120,352, ranking a distant second to Morrow County’s $237,633, although far above Oregon’s $19,757.

Gilliam County’s agricultural census identified 153 farms, a loss of 10 percent compared with 2012. Land in farms also fell in 2017, dropping 15 percent to 611,920 acres. The average size of a Gilliam County farm fell by 6 percent to 3,999 acres, ranking first in Oregon and well above the state’s 424 acre average. A median size farm in Gilliam County covered 2,197 acres, also well above Oregon’s 20 acres.

Operations with 1,000 acres or more represented 70 percent of Gilliam County’s farms compared with just 6 percent of Oregon’s. About 33 percent of Oregon’s farms belonged to the one to nine acres group in 2017 but in Gilliam County the group’s share was 5 percent. The 10 to 49 acres group led the state, with 34 percent of Oregon’s farms, while ranking last in Gilliam County, with only 1 percent. In the 500 to 999 acres group, Gilliam County’s 9 percent tripled Oregon’s 3 percent.

Gilliam County was home to 293 farm producers (maximum of four producers per farm) in 2017, with about 64 percent or 187 male producers and 106 female producers. About 45 percent of Gilliam County’s farm producers were age 65 or older – and 87 percent of its farms were family farms.

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