Union County

Key Organizations and Activities

Oregon Rural Action commissioned an analysis of Union County’s farm and food economy from the Crossroads Resource Center in 2011. That study estimated that more than 90% of food purchased by residents is sourced from outside the county, and concluded, in part, that: “If Union County residents purchased 15% of their food for home use directly from county farmers, this would generate $6 million of new farm income for the county. This would require each resident of the county to buy, on average, $4.50 of food directly from farmers each week.

Oregon Rural Action published a Farm and Food Directory, with listings for five counties, including Union County. ORA worked to support introduction of USDA certified slaughter and processing by Stafford’s Custom Meats. The Blue Mountain Chapter of Oregon Rural Action also sponsors a community garden and is working on educational events to promote local farmers and ranchers and the benefits of eating local.

Northeast Oregon Economic Development District has offered farm and food business planning classes, farm succession training, workshops on use of row covers for season extension, and supported grant applications by local community partners.

North Powder Charter School has implemented a farm-to-school program with tastings and cafeteria meals using Oregon Harvest of the Month ingredients. A FoodCorps service member teaches students nutrition, cooking, and garden-based science and math activities. Students also help manage a 1000 square foot garden, with produce served in the school cafeteria and donated to a local food bank.

Community Goals and Recommendations

A community food assessment has not been completed for Union County. However, the Northeast Oregon Economic Development District’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for Baker, Union and Wallowa Counties for 2013-2018 includes a focus area on food systems development:

  • Activities: Provide training to food producers and organizations, connect producers, help implement strategic plans.
  • Short-Term Objectives: Increased knowledge & skills of food producers, connections made between producers.
  • Intermediate Objective: More locally-produced food eaten in the region and increased exports of value-added food.
  • Long-term Goals: Businesses realize higher net incomes, create new, higher-wage jobs, increase product exports; consumers spend and invest more within the region.

An associated project description reads: “Collaborate with agricultural producers, processors & advocates to identify existing and needed equipment/facilities and services to enhance regional food systems and access to markets; conduct supply chain/product transportation assessment, share information; identify potential funding mechanisms.

GENERAL INFORMATION
POPULATION Oregon Union
Population (2007) 3,745,455 25,250
Population (2014) 3,962,710 26,485
Population change from 2007 to 2014 6%   5%
ESTIMATED SPENDING ON FOOD (WESTERN REGION) Oregon Union
2007 ($6,811 per household – average 2.6 persons) $9,811,651,540 $66,145,288
2014 ($7,175 per household – average 2.6 persons) $10,935,555,481 $73,088,413
Change from 2007 to 2014 11%   10%
FOOD ENVIRONMENT
SUPERMARKETS AND OTHER GROCERY STORES Oregon Union
2007 Grocery Stores 751 9
2013 Grocery Stores 768 7
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 2.3%   -22.2%
2007 Citizens Per Grocery Store 4,987 2,806
2013 Citizens Per Grocery Store 5,103 3,761
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 2.3%   34.0%
OTHER SPECIALTY FOOD STORES Oregon Union
2007 394 2
2013 366 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 -7.1%   -100.0%
LOW INCOME AND LOW ACCESS TO A GROCERY STORE Oregon Union
2006 Percentage 1.0% 11.2%
2006 People Affected 36,785 2662
2010 Percentage (latest data available) 5.0% 16.8%
2010 People Affected 195,215 4,319
Percentage Change 2006 to 2010 404.3%   50.1%
Average Cost of a Meal Oregon Union
2009 (National Cost: $2.54) $2.60 $2.50
2013 (National Cost: $2.79) $2.77 $3.03
Percentage Change 2009 to 2013 6.5%   21.2%
INDIVIDUALS BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL Oregon Union
2009 (5-year estimates 2005-2009) 13.6% 15.1%
2014 (5-year estimates 2010-2014) 16.7% 18.8%
Percentage Change 2009 to 2012 22.8%   24.5%
FOOD INSECURITY RATE Oregon Union
2009 16.8% 17.7%
2013 15.8% 16.6%
Percentage Change 2009 to 2013 -6.0%   -6.2%
SNAP PARTICIPATION RATE Oregon Union
2009 68% 63%
2013 73% 64%
Percentage Change 2009 to 2013 7.4%   1.6%
FARMERS MARKETS ACCEPTING SNAP BENEFITS Oregon Union
2015 Farmers Markets 172 1
2015 Farmers Markets Accepting SNAP 84 1
Percent of Total 49%   100%
COMMUNITY CAPACITY
Oregon Union
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 Union
2014 Number of Community Garden Sites >158 2
2014 Number of Garden Plots Unknown Unknown
2014 Citizens Per Garden Site <24,804 13,163
NUMBER OF SCHOOL GARDENS Oregon Union
2007 Number of School Gardens 161 1
Number of Schools Included 1,262 13
Percentage of Schools Reported to Have a Garden 12.8% 7.7%
2014 Number of School Gardens (new data as of 1/25/2015) 582 4
Number of Schools Included 1,174 12
Percentage of Schools Reported to Have a Garden 49.6% 33.3%
Percentage Change 2007 to 2014 261.5%   300.0%
Access to Seed to Supper/Master Gardeners or Equivalent Y
Access to Cooking Matters or Equivalent N
FARM BASE
LAND IN FARMS Oregon Union
2002: Total Land in Farms 17,080,422 478,411
2012: Total Land in Farms 16,301,578 411,671
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -4.6%   -14.0%
AVERAGE COST PER ACRE Oregon Union
2002: Average Cost per Acre $1,202 $1,044
2012: Average Cost per Acre $1,882 $1,548
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 56.6%   48.3%
NUMBER OF FARMS BY SALES RANGE Oregon Union
2002: Total Farms 40,033 993
2012: Total Farms 35,439 829
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -11.5%   -16.5%
2002: Farms with Sales <$25,000 31,564 797
2012: Farms with Sales <$25,000 26,835 606
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -15.0%   -24.0%
2002: Farm with Sales $25,000 to $99,999 4282 119
2012: Farms with Sales $25,000 to $99,999 3958 122
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -7.6%   2.5%
2002: Farms with Sales $100,000 to $249,999 1935 34
2012: Farms with Sales $100,000 to $249,999 1,755 49
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -9.3%   44.1%
2002: Farms with Sales >$250,000 2252 43
2012: Farms with Sales >$250,000 2891 52
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 28.4%   20.9%
FARMS WITH TYPICAL LOCAL FOOD CROPS Oregon Union
2002: Vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes 1708 15
2012: Vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes 1889 16
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 10.6%   6.7%
2002: Fruits, tree nuts, berries 5659 55
2012: Fruits, tree nuts, berries 5245 30
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -7.3%   -45.5%
2002: Poultry and eggs (all poultry) 4588 77
2012: Poultry and eggs (all poultry) 6054 117
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 32.0%   51.9%
2002: Cattle and calves (farm with sales) 13654 404
2012: Cattle and calves (farm with sales) 11,638 342
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -14.8%   -15.3%
2002: Milk cows (farms with inventory) 1133 28
2012: Milk cows (farms with inventory) 686 7
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -39.5%   -75.0%
2002: Hogs and pigs (farms with sales) 1558 36
2012: Hogs and pigs   (farms with sales) 1172 35
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -24.8%   -2.8%
2002: Sheep and goats 3219 67
2012: Sheep and goats 2810 47
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -12.7%   -29.9%
2002: Total Farms Raising Typical Local Food Crops 31,519 682
2012: Total Farms Raising Typical Local Food Crops 29,494 594
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -6.4%   -12.9%
FOOD CROP DIVERSITY Oregon Union
2007 Number of Different Vegetable, Potato, and/or Melon Crops 42 16
2007 Number of Different Fruit, Berries, Nut Crops 27 10
2007 Number of Different Grain or Cereal Crops 16 10
2007 TOTAL FOOD CROPS 85   36
2007 Average # of different food crops 35 Greater Than
2012 Number of Different Vegetable, Potato, and/or Melon Crops 42 9
2012 Number of Different Fruit, Berries, Nut Crops 27 8
2012 Number of Different Grain or Cereal Crops 16 10
2012 TOTAL FOOD CROPS 85   27
Percentage Change in Total Crops from 2007 to 2012 0.0%   -25.0%
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 Union
2002: Organic Farms 515 0
2012: Organic Farms 554 4
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 7.6%  
AVERAGE AGE OF FARMERS Oregon Union
2002: Average Age 54.9 54.6
2012: Average Age 59.6 60.6
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 8.6%   11.0%
FARM EMPLOYMENT Oregon Union
2007 67,222 1,038
2014 61,967 1,019
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 -7.8%   -1.8%
TOTAL FARM COMPENSATION Oregon Union
2007 $1,020,772,000 $6,603,000
2014 $1,109,671,000 $8,223,000
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 8.7%   24.5%
AVERAGE ANNUAL COMPENSATION PER FARM JOB Oregon Union
2007 $15,185 $6,361
2014 $17,907 $8,070
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 17.9%   26.9%
MARKET LINKAGES
FARMS WITH ON-FARM PACKING FACILITY Oregon Union
2012: Number of Farms 761 8
2012 Percent of Farms with Packing Facilities 2.1%   1.0%
FARMS THAT PRODUCED AND SOLD VALUE-ADDED Oregon Union
2007: Number of Farms 2,807 64
2012: Number of Farms 3,292 50
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 17.3%   -21.9%
2012 Percent of Farms Selling Value-Added 9.3% 6.0%
SALES TO INDIVIDUALS FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION Oregon Union
2002: Number of Farms Reporting Direct Sales 6383 106
2012: Number of Farms Reporting Direct Sales 6,680 119
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 4.7%   12.3%
2012 Percent of Farms Selling Directly 18.8% 14.4%
2002: Total Reported Direct Sales $21,411,000 $166,000
2012: Total Reported Direct Sales $44,177,000 $265,000
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 106.3%   59.6%
2002 Average Direct Sales per Participating Farm $3,354.38 $1,566.04
2012 Average Direct Sales per Participating Farm $6,613.32 $2,226.89
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 97.2%   42.2%
2002 Farm Direct Sales per Capita $6.11 $6.75
2012 Farm Direct Sales per Capita $11.37 $10.12
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 86.2%   50.0%
FARMS MARKETING PRODUCTS THROUGH A CSA Oregon Union
2007 Marketed through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) 311 5
2012 Marketed through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) 391 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 25.7%   -100.0%
2012 Percent of Farms Selling Through CSA 1.1% 0.0%
NUMBER OF FARMERS MARKETS Oregon Union
2009 Farmers Markets (Data from ERS Food Environment Atlas) 100 1
2015 Farmers Markets 172 1
Percentage Change from 2009 to 2015 72%   0%
2009 Citizens Per Farmers Market 38,235 25,470
2015 Citizens Per Farmers’ Market 23,039 26,485
Percentage Change 2009 to 2015 -39.7%   4.0%
SCHOOL DISTRICTS PURCHASING LOCAL FOOD Oregon Union
2014-2015 School Year (ODE Grantee list) 130 4
Number of School Districts 202 7
Percent of Districts Reporting Purchases of Local Food 64%   57%
FARMS MARKETING DIRECT TO RETAIL Oregon Union
2007 No Data
2012 1,898 16
2012 Percent of Farms Selling Direct to Retail 5.4%   1.9%
NUMBER OF SOLE PROPRIETOR FOOD BUSINESSES (NAICS 311) Oregon Union
2007 467 D
2013 753 6
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 61.24%   50.00%
TOTAL NUMBER OF FOOD PROCESSOR EMPLOYERS (NAICS 311) Oregon Union
2007 498 2
2013 548 2
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 10.0%   0.0%
2007 FOOD PROCESSORS BY NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES Oregon Union
1-4 Employees 163 2
5-9 Employees 88 0
10-19 Employees 78 0
20-49 Employees 80 0
50-99 Employees 42 0
100-249 Employees 28 0
More than 250 Employees 19 0
2007 Total Processor Employment 19,582 D
Ranges for non-disclosed data 0-19 emp.
2007 Total Processor Payroll $686,511,000 D
2013 FOOD PROCESSORS BY NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES Oregon Union
1-4 Employees 202 2
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 23.9%   0.0%
5-9 Employees 110 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 25.0%    
10-19 Employees 70 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 -10.3%  
20-49 Employees 69 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 -13.8%  
50-99 Employees 41 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 -2.4%  
100-249 Employees 37 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 32.1%  
More than 250 Employees 19 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 0.0%    
2012 Total Processor Employment 21,661 A
Ranges for non-disclosed data 0-19 emp.
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 10.6%    
2012 Total Processor Payroll $848,004,000 D
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 23.5%