Malheur County

Key Organizations and Activities

A community food assessment for Harney and Malheur counties was completed in 2009 by the Southeast Oregon Regional Food Bank, which noted that, “isolation and the lack of a local food system infrastructure paired with persistent poverty and unemployment that plague the region have made food insecurity a critical issue faced by many people throughout southeast Oregon.” A Second Year Progress Report was subsequently published in 2010.

The Crossroad Resource Center published a separate study in 2010 titled, “Local Foods as Economic Recovery,” which included data from Malheur County.

A Local Food Guide and Community Cookbook for Southeast Oregon was started in 2010, which is distributed by the Argus Observer. Oregon Rural Action also publishes a Farm and Food Directory, which includes listings for Malheur County.

Malheur County does have a network of food pantries. Nutrition, cooking, and food preservation classes are available through OSU Extension in Ontario. The Four Rivers Community Garden also provides garden education and donates fresh produce to the Next Chapter food pantry.

A Ranchers Feeding Kids program involving OSU Extension has secured donations of cattle that were processed for local school lunches, and provided a related curriculum. That program has involved 32 schools, which have received over 30,000 pounds of beef.

However, there are currently no local organizations dedicated to food systems development in Malheur County.

Community Goals and Recommendations

Goals identified by participants in the 2009 community food assessment included:

  1. Create an action-oriented, multi-stakeholder coalition that addresses individual and community food security and the needs of the agricultural community.
  2. Increase public awareness of food and agriculture-related issues and opportunities.
    1. Create an asset map of the local food system.
    2. Develop and distribute a local food guide.
  3. Create connections that build a food system that is supported by and benefits local producers, processors, retailers and consumers.
    1. Facilitate direct relationships between producers and retailers.
  4. Increase and maintain access to a stable food supply in underserved areas.
    1. Establish food pantries in communities not currently served.
  5. Increase access to healthy, fresh, locally-grown food throughout the region.
    1. Establish WIC, Senior voucher, and SNAP access at farmers’ markets and stands.
    2. Increase the amount of fresh food in emergency food programs.
    3. Promote programs for self-reliance, gardening and nutrition.
  6. Support and encourage the development of new community-based food projects.
    1. Promote development of community gardens and kitchens.
    2. Promote development of farmers’ markets and value-added food production.

These are appropriate goals for Malheur County – but need more local engagement and support.

GENERAL INFORMATION
POPULATION Oregon Malheur
Population (2007) 3,745,455 31,620
Population (2014) 3,962,710 31,470
Population change from 2007 to 2014 6%   0%
ESTIMATED SPENDING ON FOOD (WESTERN REGION) Oregon Malheur
2007 ($6,811 per household – average 2.6 persons) $9,811,651,540 $82,832,238
2014 ($7,175 per household – average 2.6 persons) $10,935,555,481 $86,845,096
Change from 2007 to 2014 11%   5%
FOOD ACCESS AND INSECURITY
SUPERMARKETS AND GROCERY STORES Oregon Malheur
2007 Grocery Stores 751 5
2013 Grocery Stores 768 6
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 2.3%   20.0%
2007 Citizens Per Grocery Store 4,987 6,324
2013 Citizens Per Grocery Store 5,103 5,240
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 2.3%   -17.1%
OTHER SPECIALTY FOOD STORES Oregon Malheur
2007 394 1
2013 366 3
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 -7.1%   200.0%
LOW INCOME AND LOW ACCESS TO A GROCERY STORE Oregon Malheur
2006 Percentage 1.0% 1.9%
2006 People Affected 36,785 551
2010 Percentage (latest data available) 5.0% 5.6%
2010 People Affected 195,215 1,743
Percentage Change 2006 to 2010 404.3%   188.7%
AVERAGE COST OF A MEAL Oregon Malheur
2009 (National Cost: $2.54) $2.60 $2.43
2013 (National Cost: $2.79) $2.77 $2.53
Percentage Change 2009 to 2013 6.5%   4.1%
INDIVIDUALS BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL Oregon Malheur
2009 (5-year estimates 2005-2009) 13.6% 17.2%
2014 (5-year estimates 2010-2014) 16.7% 28.4%
Percentage Change 2009 to 2012 22.8%   65.1%
FOOD INSECURITY RATE Oregon Malheur
2009 16.8% 17.4%
2013 15.8% 14.8%
Percentage Change 2009 to 2013 -6.0%   -14.9%
SNAP PARTICIPATION RATE Oregon Malheur
2009 68% 76%
2013 73% 80%
Percentage Change 2009 to 2013 7.4%   5.3%
FARMERS MARKETS ACCEPTING SNAP BENEFITS Oregon Malheur
2015 Farmers Markets 172 2
2015 Farmers Markets Accepting SNAP 84 1
Percent of Total 49%   50%
COMMUNITY CAPACITY
Oregon Malheur
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) N
COMMUNITY GARDENS Oregon Malheur
2014 Number of Community Garden Sites >158 1
2014 Number of Garden Plots Unknown Unknown
2014 Citizens Per Garden Site <24,804 31,440
NUMBER OF SCHOOL GARDENS Oregon Malheur
2007 Number of School Gardens 161 3
Number of Schools Included 1,262 24
Percentage of Schools Reported to Have a Garden 12.8% 12.5%
2014 Number of School Gardens (new data as of 1/25/2015) 582 4
Number of Schools Included 1,174 19
Percentage of Schools Reported to Have a Garden 49.6% 21.1%
Percentage Change 2007 to 2014 261.5%   33.3%
Access to Seed to Supper/Master Gardeners or Equivalent N
Access to Cooking Matters or Equivalent Y
FARM BASE
LAND IN FARMS Oregon Malheur
2002: Total Land in Farms 17,080,422 1,175,280
2012: Total Land in Farms 16,301,578 1,076,768
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -4.6%   -8.4%
AVERAGE COST PER ACRE Oregon Malheur
2002: Average Cost per Acre $1,202 $537
2012: Average Cost per Acre $1,882 $1,174
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 56.6%   118.6%
NUMBER OF FARMS BY SALES RANGE Oregon Malheur
2002: Total Farms 40,033 1272
2012: Total Farms 35,439 1,113
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -11.5%   -12.5%
2002: Farms with Sales <$25,000 31,564 685
2012: Farms with Sales <$25,000 26,835 497
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -15.0%   -27.4%
2002: Farm with Sales $25,000 to $99,999 4282 255
2012: Farms with Sales $25,000 to $99,999 3958 253
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -7.6%   -0.8%
2002: Farms with Sales $100,000 to $249,999 1935 145
2012: Farms with Sales $100,000 to $249,999 1,755 115
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -9.3%   -20.7%
2002: Farms with Sales >$250,000 2252 187
2012: Farms with Sales >$250,000 2891 248
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 28.4%   32.6%
FARMS WITH TYPICAL LOCAL FOOD CROPS Oregon Malheur
2002: Vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes 1708 136
2012: Vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes 1889 87
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 10.6%   -36.0%
2002: Fruits, tree nuts, berries 5659 12
2012: Fruits, tree nuts, berries 5245 17
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -7.3%   41.7%
2002: Poultry and eggs (all poultry) 4588 94
2012: Poultry and eggs (all poultry) 6054 96
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 32.0%   2.1%
2002: Cattle and calves (farm with sales) 13654 658
2012: Cattle and calves (farm with sales) 11,638 563
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -14.8%   -14.4%
2002: Milk cows (farms with inventory) 1133 84
2012: Milk cows (farms with inventory) 686 32
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -39.5%   -61.9%
2002: Hogs and pigs (farms with sales) 1558 36
2012: Hogs and pigs   (farms with sales) 1172 17
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -24.8%   -52.8%
2002: Sheep and goats 3219 99
2012: Sheep and goats 2810 73
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -12.7%   -26.3%
FARMS WITH TYPICAL LOCAL FOOD CROPS Oregon Malheur
2002: Total Farms Raising Typical Local Food Crops 31,519 1119
2012: Total Farms Raising Typical Local Food Crops 29,494 885
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -6.4%   -20.9%
FOOD CROP DIVERSITY Oregon Malheur
2007 Number of Different Vegetable, Potato, and/or Melon Crops 42 12
2007 Number of Different Fruit, Berries, Nut Crops 27 8
2007 Number of Different Grain or Cereal Crops 16 10
2007 TOTAL FOOD CROPS 85   30
2007 Average # of different food crops 35 Less Than
2012 Number of Different Vegetable, Potato, and/or Melon Crops 42 16
2012 Number of Different Fruit, Berries, Nut Crops 27 11
2012 Number of Different Grain or Cereal Crops 16 10
2012 TOTAL FOOD CROPS 85   37
Percentage Change in Total Crops from 2007 to 2012 0.0%   23.3%
2012 Average # of different food crops 38 Less Than
Percentage Change in Average # of crops from 2007 to 2012 8.6%
NUMBER OF ORGANIC FARMS Oregon Malheur
2002: Organic Farms 515 8
2012: Organic Farms 554 5
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 7.6%   -37.5%
AVERAGE AGE OF FARMERS Oregon Malheur
2002: Average Age 54.9 53.5
2012: Average Age 59.6 56.6
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 8.6%   5.8%
FARM EMPLOYMENT Oregon Malheur
2007 67,222 2,045
2014 61,967 2,010
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 -7.8%   -1.7%
TOTAL FARM COMPENSATION Oregon Malheur
2007 $1,020,772,000 $27,082,000
2014 $1,109,671,000 $35,554,000
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 8.7%   31.3%
AVERAGE ANNUAL COMPENSATION PER FARM JOB Oregon Malheur
2007 $15,185 $13,243
2014 $17,907 $17,689
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 17.9%   33.6%
MARKET LINKAGES
FARMS WITH ON-FARM PACKING FACILITY Oregon Malheur
2012: Number of Farms 761 11
2012 Percent of Farms with Packing Facilities 2.1%   1.0%
FARMS THAT PRODUCED AND SOLD VALUE-ADDED Oregon Malheur
2007: Number of Farms 2,807 83
2012: Number of Farms 3,292 87
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 17.3%   4.8%
2012 Percent of Farms Selling Value-Added 9.3% 7.8%
SALES TO INDIVIDUALS FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION Oregon Malheur
2002: Number of Farms Reporting Direct Sales 6383 93
2012: Number of Farms Reporting Direct Sales 6,680 58
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 4.7%   -37.6%
2012 Percent of Farms Selling Directly 18.8% 5.2%
2002: Total Reported Direct Sales $21,411,000 $240,000
2012: Total Reported Direct Sales $44,177,000 $230,000
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 106.3%   -4.2%
2002 Average Direct Sales per Participating Farm $3,354.38 $2,580.65
2012 Average Direct Sales per Participating Farm $6,613.32 $3,965.52
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 97.2%   53.7%
2002 Farm Direct Sales per Capita $6.11 $7.50
2012 Farm Direct Sales per Capita $11.37 $7.33
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 86.2%   -2.3%
FARMS MARKETING PRODUCTS THROUGH A CSA Oregon Malheur
2007 Marketed through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) 311 5
2012 Marketed through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) 391 4
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 25.7%   -20.0%
2012 Percent of Farms Selling Through CSA 1.1% 0.4%
NUMBER OF FARMERS MARKETS Oregon Malheur
2009 Farmers Markets (Data from ERS Food Environment Atlas) 100 0
2015 Farmers Markets 172 2
Percentage Change from 2009 to 2015 72%  
2009 Citizens Per Farmers Market 38,235
2015 Citizens Per Farmers’ Market 23,039 15,735
Percentage Change 2009 to 2015 -39.7%    
SCHOOL DISTRICTS PURCHASING LOCAL FOOD Oregon Malheur
2014-2015 School Year (ODE Grantee list) 130 3
Number of School Districts 202 9
Percent of Districts Reporting Purchases of Local Food 64%   33%
FARMS MARKETING DIRECT TO RETAIL Oregon Malheur
2007 No Data
2012 1,898 22
2012 Percent of Farms Selling Direct to Retail 5.4%   2.0%
NUMBER OF SOLE PROPRIETOR FOOD BUSINESSES (NAICS 311) Oregon Malheur
2007 467 D
2013 753 D
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 61.24%
TOTAL NUMBER OF FOOD PROCESSOR EMPLOYERS (NAICS 311) Oregon Malheur
2007 498 6
2013 548 7
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 10.0%   16.7%
2007 FOOD PROCESSORS BY NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES Oregon Malheur
1-4 Employees 163 1
5-9 Employees 88 1
10-19 Employees 78 2
20-49 Employees 80 0
50-99 Employees 42 1
100-249 Employees 28 0
More than 250 Employees 19 1
2007 Total Processor Employment 19,582 D
Ranges for non-disclosed data 500-999 emp.
2007 Total Processor Payroll $686,511,000 D
2013 FOOD PROCESSORS BY NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES Oregon Malheur
1-4 Employees 202 1
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 23.9%   0.0%
5-9 Employees 110 3
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 25.0%   200.0%
10-19 Employees 70 1
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 -10.3%   -50.0%
20-49 Employees 69 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 -13.8%    
50-99 Employees 41 1
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 -2.4%   0.0%
100-249 Employees 37 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 32.1%    
More than 250 Employees 19 1
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 0.0%   0.0%
2013 Total Processor Employment 21,661 F
Ranges for non-disclosed data 500-999 emp.
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 10.6%
2013 Total Processor Payroll $848,004,000 D
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 23.5%