Agriculture

ESTIMATED FARM GATE SALES Union CountyAgriculture is a very important and valued component on the local economy and local communities in Union County. The Oregon State Cooperative Extension office in Union County provides technical assistance to local producers as well as nurturing the next generation of farmers through the 4H program. The OSU Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Center, located in the City of Union, continually tests and improves on the range of crops which can be commercially grown in the County.

The value of local production of crops and livestock has been growing after a sharp downturn in 2009. Production sales exceeded $91 million in 2011.

 

 

There are 880 farm units in Union County with an average size of 554 acres. (2007 Farm Survey, U.S. Census)

Union County Farms by Size

Farms of less than 50 acres comprise 34% of the total farms in the County. Farms greater than 179 acres in size are 36% of the farms.

Union County Farms by Size

 

 

 

 

 

Over one-half of the farms have annual sales below $5,000. Farms with sales of $50,000 or more represent 16% of the total farm units in the County.

Union County Farms by Value of Sales

 

 

 

Farms by Value of Sales Union County

In 2011 farm gate sales included the following commodities ($million)

field crops $26.355
grains $25.288
hays and forage $8.270
grass & legume seeds  $7.047

 

Crops with the largest acreages harvested in 2011 were:

Wheat 31,150 acres
Hay 8,000 acres
Peppermint for oil 7,800 acres

 

The diversity of Union County’s agriculture is unique for the region and is aided by the mild climate of the Grande Ronde Valley. This diversity can be seen in the list of crops that are grown annually in Union County (OSU Extension):

  •  Turfgrass seed: Kentucky bluegrass, creeping red fescue, chewings fescue, hard fescue
  •  Peppermint for oil
  •  Winter and spring wheat (including soft white, hard white, and hard red market classes)
  •  Spring oats
  •  Spring barley
  •  Potatoes: Certified seed (Russets) and processing potatoes (white, red and yellow flesh)
  •  Sugarbeet for sugar
  • Specialty seed: spring canola* (certified seed); sunflowers* (certified seed); hybrid alfalfa; red clover; dry green peas; carrot; dill; other grasses (blue bunch wheatgrass, blue wild rye, Idaho fescue, California brome, poverty oat grass); coriander; radish; lettuce; spinach; other.
  • Other field crops: garbanzo beans*, field corn, yellow mustard; soybeans; camelina; other dry beans such as light red kidney beans and cranberry beans; other.
  • Forage/Hay: alfalfa*; timothy*; orchard grass; sudan; grass seed straw
  • Commercial Tree Fruit: sweet cherries
  • Organic grain, alfalfa, potatoes and peppermint

NOTE: specialty and other field crops marked with an asterisk (*) are grown annually, whereas, the others are only grown when production contracts are available.

Information on Union County’s agricultural activity and its positive impact on Union County can be found at the 2007 Agricultural Census, the 2011 Oregon County and State Ag Estimates, and the OSU Extension Service 2011 Profile of Union County Agriculture.

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