Benton County

Key Organizations and Activities

Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon completed a community food assessment for Benton County in 2006. Ten Rivers Food Web published a food assessment summary for Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties in 2012 and a separate 2014 community food assessment for Benton County. A feasibility study for a South Corvallis Food Center was completed in 2012 (part 1 and part 2).

The Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments has also published a State of the Region report for Benton, Lincoln and Linn counties, with a sub-report on food access and agriculture.

Ten Rivers Food Web also supports an on-line local food directory for Linn, Lincoln, and Benton counties.

The Corvallis Sustainability Coalition has a Food Action Team, which is promoting a 40% Local Food Pledge and has produced a Corvallis Garden Resource Guide. First Alternative Co-operative grocery is promoting a related Local 6 branding effort to promote food from a six county region including Benton, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion & Polk counties.

Corvallis Environmental Council has an Edible Corvallis program that includes the SAGE education garden, farm to school projects and community gardening.

OSU Center for Small Farms and Community Food Systems works statewide to advance sustainable agriculture, community food systems, and economic progress for Oregon’s small farmers and ranchers.

Community Goals and Recommendations

The three county assessment summary published by Ten Rivers Food Web contains a clear statement of goals:

  • Support farmers, fishers, and food entrepreneurs with information sharing, networks, workshops, marketing, and distribution.
  • Facilitate discussions and partnerships for local food processing and storage.
  • Increase year-round availability of local food.
  • Determine demand for local food through an economic market analysis.
  • Expand awareness of local food and build relationships between producers and consumers through educational events and communications.
  • Support rural grocery stores offering local/healthy food promotions.
  • Connect institutional buyers with local food producers.
  • Create stronger links between health initiatives and community food projects.
  • Improve access to local, healthy food for all, and promote socio-economic, cultural, and rural/urban diversity in food systems work.

The 2014 Benton County assessment also includes references to:

  • Helping farmers adapt to climate change.
  • Improving access to capital and land for new and expanding farmers.
  • Facilitating compliance with new food safety regulations.
GENERAL INFORMATION
POPULATION Oregon Benton
Population (2007) 3,745,455 85,300
Population (2014) 3,962,710 88,740
Population change from 2007 to 2014 6%   4%
ESTIMATED SPENDING ON FOOD (WESTERN REGION) Oregon Benton
2007 ($6,811 per household – average 2.6 persons) $9,811,651,540 $223,453,192
2014 ($7,175 per household – average 2.6 persons) $10,935,555,481 $244,888,269
Change from 2007 to 2014 11%   10%
FOOD ENVIRONMENT
SUPERMARKETS AND OTHER GROCERY STORES Oregon Benton
2007 Grocery Stores 751 14
2013 Grocery Stores 768 15
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 2.3%   7.1%
2007 Citizens Per Grocery Store 4,987 6,093
2013 Citizens Per Grocery Store 5,103 5,848
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 2.3%   -4.0%
OTHER SPECIALTY FOOD STORES Oregon Benton
2007 394 6
2013 366 3
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 -7.1%   -50.0%
LOW INCOME AND LOW ACCESS TO A GROCERY STORE Oregon Benton
2006 Percentage 1.0% 0.9%
2006 People Affected 36,785 661
2010 Percentage (latest data available) 5.0% 4.6%
2010 People Affected 195,215 3,956
Percentage Change 2006 to 2010 404.3%   405.5%
Average Cost of a Meal Oregon Benton
2009 (National Cost: $2.54) $2.60 $3.20
2013 (National Cost: $2.79) $2.77 $3.10
Percentage Change 2009 to 2013 6.5%   -3.1%
INDIVIDUALS BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL Oregon Benton
2009 (5-year estimates 2005-2009) 13.6% 19.1%
2014 (5-year estimates 2010-2014) 16.7% 22.7%
Percentage Change 2009 to 2012 22.8%   18.8%
FOOD INSECURITY RATE Oregon Benton
2009 16.8% 15.7%
2013 15.8% 16.1%
Percentage Change 2009 to 2013 -6.0%   2.5%
SNAP PARTICIPATION RATE Oregon Benton
2009 68% 38%
2013 73% 39%
Percentage Change 2009 to 2013 7.4%   2.6%
FARMERS MARKETS ACCEPTING SNAP BENEFITS Oregon Benton
2015 Farmers Markets 172 2
2015 Farmers Markets Accepting SNAP 84 2
Percent of Total 49%   100%
COMMUNITY CAPACITY
Benton
Community Food System Assessment Completed Y
Food System Council or Working Group Formed and Active N
Food System Plan Published N
Dedicated Local Food Organization(s) (beyond food assistance) Y
COMMUNITY GARDENS Oregon Benton
2014 Number of Community Garden Sites >158 14
2014 Number of Garden Plots Unknown Unknown
2014 Citizens Per Garden Site <24,804 6,266
NUMBER OF SCHOOL GARDENS Oregon Benton
2007 Number of School Gardens 161 6
Number of Schools Included 1,262 22
Percentage of Schools Reported to Have a Garden 12.8% 27.3%
2014 Number of School Gardens (new data as of 1/25/2015) 582 16
Number of Schools Included 1,174 29
Percentage of Schools Reported to Have a Garden 49.6% 55.2%
Percentage Change 2007 to 2014 261.5%   166.7%
Access to Seed to Supper/Master Gardeners or Equivalent Y
Access to Cooking Matters or Equivalent N
FARM BASE
LAND IN FARMS Oregon Benton
2002: Total Land in Farms 17,080,422 130,203
2012: Total Land in Farms 16,301,578 123,975
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -4.6%   -4.8%
AVERAGE COST PER ACRE Oregon Benton
2002: Average Cost per Acre $1,202 $3,854
2012: Average Cost per Acre $1,882 $5,932
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 56.6%   53.9%
NUMBER OF FARMS BY SALES RANGE Oregon Benton
2002: Total Farms 40,033 912
2012: Total Farms 35,439 886
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -11.5%   -2.9%
2002: Farms with Sales <$25,000 31,564 771
2012: Farms with Sales <$25,000 26,835 723
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -15.0%   -6.2%
2002: Farm with Sales $25,000 to $99,999 4282 62
2012: Farms with Sales $25,000 to $99,999 3958 71
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -7.6%   14.5%
2002: Farms with Sales $100,000 to $249,999 1935 31
2012: Farms with Sales $100,000 to $249,999 1,755 32
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -9.3%   3.2%
2002: Farms with Sales >$250,000 2252 48
2012: Farms with Sales >$250,000 2891 60
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 28.4%   25.0%
FARMS WITH TYPICAL LOCAL FOOD CROPS Oregon Benton
2002: Vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes 1708 58
2012: Vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes 1889 81
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 10.6%   39.7%
2002: Fruits, tree nuts, berries 5659 165
2012: Fruits, tree nuts, berries 5245 180
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -7.3%   9.1%
2002: Poultry and eggs (all poultry) 4588 112
2012: Poultry and eggs (all poultry) 6054 196
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 32.0%   75.0%
2002: Cattle and calves (farm with sales) 13654 218
2012: Cattle and calves (farm with sales) 11,638 206
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -14.8%   -5.5%
2002: Milk cows (farms with inventory) 1133 21
2012: Milk cows (farms with inventory) 686 13
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -39.5%   -38.1%
2002: Hogs and pigs (farms with sales) 1558 62
2012: Hogs and pigs   (farms with sales) 1172 39
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -24.8%   -37.1%
2002: Sheep and goats 3219 139
2012: Sheep and goats 2810 132
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -12.7%   -5.0%
2002: Total Farms Raising Typical Local Food Crops 31,519 775
2012: Total Farms Raising Typical Local Food Crops 29,494 847
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -6.4%   9.3%
FOOD CROP DIVERSITY Oregon Benton
2007 Number of Different Vegetable, Potato, and/or Melon Crops 42 25
2007 Number of Different Fruit, Berries, Nut Crops 27 23
2007 Number of Different Grain or Cereal Crops 16 3
2007 TOTAL FOOD CROPS 85   51
2007 Average # of different food crops 35 Greater Than
2012 Number of Different Vegetable, Potato, and/or Melon Crops 42 27
2012 Number of Different Fruit, Berries, Nut Crops 27 21
2012 Number of Different Grain or Cereal Crops 16 9
2012 TOTAL FOOD CROPS 85   57
Percentage Change in Total Crops from 2007 to 2012 0.0% 11.8%
2012 Average # of different food crops 38 Greater Than
Percentage Change in Average # of crops from 2007 to 2012 8.6%
NUMBER OF ORGANIC FARMS Oregon Benton
2002: Organic Farms 515 20
2012: Organic Farms 554 33
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 7.6%   65.0%
AVERAGE AGE OF FARMERS Oregon Benton
2002: Average Age 54.9 54.1
2012: Average Age 59.6 59.1
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 8.6%   9.2%
FARM EMPLOYMENT Oregon Benton
2007 67,222 1,510
2014 61,967 1,374
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 -7.8%   -9.0%
TOTAL FARM COMPENSATION Oregon Benton
2007 $1,020,772,000 $21,184,000
2014 $1,109,671,000 $25,354,000
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 8.7%   19.7%
AVERAGE ANNUAL COMPENSATION PER FARM JOB Oregon Benton
2007 $15,185 $14,029
2014 $17,907 $18,453
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 17.9%   31.5%
MARKET LINKAGES
FARMS WITH ON-FARM PACKING FACILITY Oregon Benton
2012: Number of Farms 761 33
2012 Percent of Farms with Packing Facilities 2.1% 3.7%
FARMS THAT PRODUCED AND SOLD VALUE-ADDED Oregon Benton
2007: Number of Farms 2,807 70
2012: Number of Farms 3,292 108
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 17.3%   54.3%
2012 Percent of Farms Selling Value-Added 9.3% 12.2%
SALES TO INDIVIDUALS FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION Oregon Benton
2002: Number of Farms Reporting Direct Sales 6383 180
2012: Number of Farms Reporting Direct Sales 6,680 224
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 4.7%   24.4%
2012 Percent of Farms Selling Directly 18.8% 25.3%
2002: Total Reported Direct Sales $21,411,000 $1,889,000
2012: Total Reported Direct Sales $44,177,000 $3,705,000
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 106.3%   96.1%
2002 Average Direct Sales per Participating Farm $3,354.38 $10,494.44
2012 Average Direct Sales per Participating Farm $6,613.32 $16,540.18
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 97.2%   57.6%
2002 Farm Direct Sales per Capita $6.11 $23.64
2012 Farm Direct Sales per Capita $11.37 $42.69
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 86.2%   80.6%
FARMS MARKETING PRODUCTS THROUGH A CSA Oregon Benton
2007 Marketed through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) 311 17
2012 Marketed through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) 391 10
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 25.7%   -41.2%
2012 Percent of Farms Selling Through CSA 1.1% 1.1%
NUMBER OF FARMERS MARKETS Oregon Benton
2009 Farmers Markets (Data from ERS Food Environment Atlas) 100 6
2015 Farmers Markets 172 2
Percentage Change from 2009 to 2015 72%   -67%
2009 Citizens Per Farmers Market 38,235 14,454
2015 Citizens Per Farmers’ Market 23,039 44,370
Percentage Change 2009 to 2015 -39.7%   207.0%
SCHOOL DISTRICTS PURCHASING LOCAL FOOD Oregon Benton
2014-2015 School Year (ODE Grantee list) 130 4
Number of School Districts 202 4
Percent of Districts Reporting Purchases of Local Food 64% 100%
FARMS MARKETING DIRECT TO RETAIL Oregon Benton
2007 No Data
2012 1,898 91
2012 Percent of Farms Selling Direct to Retail 5.4% 10.3%
NUMBER OF SOLE PROPRIETOR FOOD BUSINESSES (NAICS 311) Oregon Benton
2007 467 18
2013 753 23
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 61.24%   27.78%
TOTAL NUMBER OF FOOD PROCESSOR EMPLOYERS (NAICS 311) Oregon Benton
2007 498 11
2013 548 10
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 10.0%   -9.1%
2007 FOOD PROCESSORS BY NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES Oregon Benton
1-4 Employees 163 5
5-9 Employees 88 2
10-19 Employees 78 3
20-49 Employees 80 1
50-99 Employees 42 0
100-249 Employees 28 0
More than 250 Employees 19 0
2007 Total Processor Employment 19,582 104
Ranges for non-disclosed data
2007 Total Processor Payroll $686,511,000 $2,361,000
2013 FOOD PROCESSORS BY NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES Oregon Benton
1-4 Employees 202 1
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 23.9%   -80.0%
5-9 Employees 110 4
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 25.0%   100.0%
10-19 Employees 70 3
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 -10.3%   0.0%
20-49 Employees 69 2
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 -13.8%   100.0%
50-99 Employees 41 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013  -2.4%    0.0%
100-249 Employees 37 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013  32.1%    0.0%
More than 250 Employees 19 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013  0.0%    0.0%
2012 Total Processor Employment 21,661 129
Ranges for non-disclosed data
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 10.6%   24.0%
2012 Total Processor Payroll $848,004,000 $3,455,000
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 23.5%   46.3%