2017 Census of Agriculture – Wasco County

by Dallas Fridley

October 14, 2019

The market value of agricultural products sold in Wasco County reached $93.9 million in 2017. Crops represented 85 percent or $80.1 million and livestock, poultry, and products 15 percent or $13.8 million.

With 595 farms operating in 2017, agricultural product sales per farm averaged $157,736, about 34 percent higher than Oregon’s $133,104. Wasco County’s 2017 agricultural product sales ranked 15th in Oregon, while Marion County earned the top spot with $702 million.
Not every farm in Wasco County averaged $134,004 in agricultural product sales, around 38 percent fell under $2,500 annually, while farms with $100,000 or more comprised about 24 percent. Farms selling $500,000 or more in agricultural products represented 8 percent of Wasco County’s farms compared with Oregon’s 5 percent. Farms with $500,000 or more in agricultural sales commanded 67 percent of Wasco County’s 2017 total, at $62.6 million.

Farm production expenses in Wasco County averaged $171,458 in 2017. And net cash income per farm averaged $8,806 (ranking 25th), compared with Oregon’s $19,757.
Wasco County’s census identified 595 farms, a drop of 11 percent compared with 2012. Land in farms also fell in 2017, dropping 3 percent to 1.4 million acres while ranking second in Oregon to Harney County’s 1.6 million acres. Although total land in farming fell, the average size of a Wasco County farm actually rose by 10 percent to 2,334 acres ranking sixth (out of 36 counties) and far surpassing Oregon’s 424 acre average. The median size farm in Wasco County covered 117 acres (ranking 9th), compared with Oregon’s 20 acre median.

Operations with 1,000 acres or more represented 20 percent of Wasco County’s farms compared with Oregon’s 6 percent. About 33 percent of Oregon’s farms belonged to the 1 to 9 acres group in 2017 compared with Wasco County’s 9 percent. The 10 to 49 acres group led the state, with 34 percent of Oregon’s farms, well above Wasco County’s 24 percent. But for farms in the 500 to 999 acres group, Wasco County’s 8 percent more than doubled Oregon’s 3 percent.

Wasco County’s top crop in 2017, wheat for grain, covered 74,358 acres, which ranked fifth in Oregon. Wasco County’s sweet cherries led Oregon, covering 10,260 acres while forage (hay/haylage) covered 8,603 acres.

Wasco County was home to 1,087 farm producers (maximum of four producers per farm) in 2017, with about 61 percent or 665 male producers and 422 female producers. About 37 percent of Wasco County’s farm producers were age 65 or older – and 92 percent of its farms were family farms.

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