Wheeler County

Key Organizations and Activities

The Community Action Program of East Central Oregon completed a community food assessment for East Central Oregon, including Wheeler County, in 2010.

Columbia Plateau Food Links is a regional group of individuals and organizations networking to promote and coordinate a healthy, sustainable and economically viable community food system. An associated Facebook page provides posting on regional farm and food events.

A local food guide for Gilliam and Wheeler counties was published in 2011.

A garden has been established at the Fossil Charter School.

Other local resources appear to be focused primarily on emergency food assistance.

Community Goals and Recommendations

The 2010 community food assessment included the following priorities:

  1. Increase outreach and networking around local food and farm opportunities.
    1. Implement a public education campaign on the benefits of a local food system.
  2. Expand educational opportunities for community members.
    1. Leverage gardening and farming education resources to increase skills.
    2. Expand agricultural opportunities for youth.
  3. Increase the production of food for local consumption.
    1. Explore and implement season extending strategies.
  4. Increase the number of venues featuring locally or regionally produced food.
    1. Engage institutional food purchasers about locally or regionally produced food.
  5. Ensure access to a stable fresh food supply for all citizens year-round.
    1. Support viability of grocery stores that are responsive to community needs.
  6. Develop a stronger local food system infrastructure.
    1. Identify or build a cold storage facility.
    2. Establish a distribution network for transportation of locally-produced food to markets within the county and into the larger region.

These are worthy goals, but community engagement and commitment need to be increased.

GENERAL INFORMATION
POPULATION Oregon Wheeler
Population (2007) 3,745,455 1,457
Population (2014) 3,962,710 1,440
Population change from 2007 to 2014 6%   -1%
ESTIMATED SPENDING ON FOOD (WESTERN REGION) Oregon Wheeler
2007 ($6,811 per household – average 2.6 persons) $9,811,651,540 $3,816,780
2014 ($7,175 per household – average 2.6 persons) $10,935,555,481 $3,973,846
Change from 2007 to 2014 11%   4%
FOOD ENVIRONMENT
SUPERMARKETS AND OTHER GROCERY STORES Oregon Wheeler
2007 Grocery Stores 751 1
2013 Grocery Stores 768 1
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 2.3%   0.0%
2007 Citizens Per Grocery Store 4,987 1,457
2013 Citizens Per Grocery Store 5,103 1,430
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 2.3%   -1.9%
OTHER SPECIALTY FOOD STORES Oregon Wheeler
2007 394 0
2013 366 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 -7.1%   NA
LOW INCOME AND LOW ACCESS TO A GROCERY STORE Oregon Wheeler
2006 Percentage 1.0% 45.3%
2006 People Affected 36,785 695
2010 Percentage (latest data available) 5.0% 46.0%
2010 People Affected 195,215 662
Percentage Change 2006 to 2010 404.3%   1.5%
Average Cost of a Meal Oregon Wheeler
2009 (National Cost: $2.54) $2.60 $4.07
2013 (National Cost: $2.79) $2.77 $2.86
Percentage Change 2009 to 2013 6.5%   -29.7%
INDIVIDUALS BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL Oregon Wheeler
2009 (5-year estimates 2005-2009) 13.6% 15.2%
2014 (5-year estimates 2010-2014) 16.7% 18.3%
Percentage Change 2009 to 2012 22.8%   20.4%
FOOD INSECURITY RATE Oregon Wheeler
2009 16.8% 16.0%
2013 15.8% 14.9%
Percentage Change 2009 to 2013 -6.0%   -6.9%
SNAP PARTICIPATION RATE Oregon Wheeler
2009 68% 47%
2013 73% 88%
Percentage Change 2009 to 2013 7.4%   87.2%
FARMERS MARKETS ACCEPTING SNAP BENEFITS Oregon Wheeler
2015 Farmers Markets 172 0
2015 Farmers Markets Accepting SNAP 84 0
Percent of Total 49%   NA
COMMUNITY CAPACITY
Oregon Wheeler
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 Wheeler
2014 Number of Community Garden Sites >158 Unknown
2014 Number of Garden Plots Unknown Unknown
2014 Citizens Per Garden Site <24,804 Unknown
NUMBER OF SCHOOL GARDENS Oregon Wheeler
2007 Number of School Gardens 161 0
Number of Schools Included 1,262 4
Percentage of Schools Reported to Have a Garden 12.8% 0.0%
2014 Number of School Gardens (new data as of 1/25/2015) 582 2
Number of Schools Included 1,174 3
Percentage of Schools Reported to Have a Garden 49.6% 66.7%
Percentage Change 2007 to 2014 261.5%   NA
Access to Seed to Supper/Master Gardeners or Equivalent N
Access to Cooking Matters or Equivalent N
FARM BASE
LAND IN FARMS Oregon Wheeler
2002: Total Land in Farms 17,080,422 738,207
2012: Total Land in Farms 16,301,578 649,086
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -4.6%   -12.1%
AVERAGE COST PER ACRE Oregon Wheeler
2002: Average Cost per Acre $1,202 $274
2012: Average Cost per Acre $1,882 $648
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 56.6%   136.5%
NUMBER OF FARMS BY SALES RANGE Oregon Wheeler
2002: Total Farms 40,033 164
2012: Total Farms 35,439 153
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -11.5%   -6.7%
2002: Farms with Sales <$25,000 31,564 120
2012: Farms with Sales <$25,000 26,835 97
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -15.0%   -19.2%
2002: Farm with Sales $25,000 to $99,999 4282 26
2012: Farms with Sales $25,000 to $99,999 3958 26
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -7.6%   0.0%
2002: Farms with Sales $100,000 to $249,999 1935 13
2012: Farms with Sales $100,000 to $249,999 1,755 14
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -9.3%   7.7%
2002: Farms with Sales >$250,000 2252 5
2012: Farms with Sales >$250,000 2891 16
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 28.4%   220.0%
FARMS WITH TYPICAL LOCAL FOOD CROPS Oregon Wheeler
2002: Vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes 1708 5
2012: Vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes 1889 2
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 10.6%   -60.0%
2002: Fruits, tree nuts, berries 5659 12
2012: Fruits, tree nuts, berries 5245 3
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -7.3%   -75.0%
2002: Poultry and eggs (all poultry) 4588 17
2012: Poultry and eggs (all poultry) 6054 23
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 32.0%   35.3%
2002: Cattle and calves (farm with sales) 13654 89
2012: Cattle and calves (farm with sales) 11,638 72
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -14.8%   -19.1%
2002: Milk cows (farms with inventory) 1133 8
2012: Milk cows (farms with inventory) 686 4
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -39.5%   -50.0%
2002: Hogs and pigs (farms with sales) 1558 8
2012: Hogs and pigs   (farms with sales) 1172 10
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -24.8%   25.0%
2002: Sheep and goats 3219 9
2012: Sheep and goats 2810 5
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -12.7%   -44.4%
2002: Total Farms Raising Typical Local Food Crops 31,519 148
2012: Total Farms Raising Typical Local Food Crops 29,494 119
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 -6.4%   -19.6%
FOOD CROP DIVERSITY Oregon Wheeler
2007 Number of Different Vegetable, Potato, and/or Melon Crops 42 0
2007 Number of Different Fruit, Berries, Nut Crops 27 2
2007 Number of Different Grain or Cereal Crops 16 4
2007 TOTAL FOOD CROPS 85   6
2007 Average # of different food crops 35 Less Than
2012 Number of Different Vegetable, Potato, and/or Melon Crops 42 2
2012 Number of Different Fruit, Berries, Nut Crops 27 3
2012 Number of Different Grain or Cereal Crops 16 1
2012 TOTAL FOOD CROPS 85   6
Percentage Change in Total Crops from 2007 to 2012 0.0%   0.0%
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 Wheeler
2002: Organic Farms 515 0
2012: Organic Farms 554 1
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 7.6%
AVERAGE AGE OF FARMERS Oregon Wheeler
2002: Average Age 54.9 59.7
2012: Average Age 59.6 62.1
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 8.6%   4.0%
FARM EMPLOYMENT Oregon Wheeler
2007 67,222 205
2014 61,967 213
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 -7.8%   3.9%
TOTAL FARM COMPENSATION Oregon Wheeler
2007 $1,020,772,000 $1,276,000
2014 $1,109,671,000 $2,744,000
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 8.7%   115.0%
AVERAGE ANNUAL COMPENSATION PER FARM JOB Oregon Wheeler
2007 $15,185 $6,224
2014 $17,907 $12,883
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 17.9%   107.0%
MARKET LINKAGES
FARMS WITH ON-FARM PACKING FACILITY Oregon Wheeler
2012: Number of Farms 761 0
2012 Percent of Farms with Packing Facilities 2.1%   0.0%
FARMS THAT PRODUCED AND SOLD VALUE-ADDED Oregon Wheeler
2007: Number of Farms 2,807 6
2012: Number of Farms 3,292 12
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 17.3%   100.0%
2012 Percent of Farms Selling Value-Added 9.3% 7.8%
SALES TO INDIVIDUALS FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION Oregon Wheeler
2002: Number of Farms Reporting Direct Sales 6383 16
2012: Number of Farms Reporting Direct Sales 6,680 6
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 4.7%   -62.5%
2012 Percent of Farms Selling Directly 18.8% 3.9%
2002: Total Reported Direct Sales $21,411,000 $44,000
2012: Total Reported Direct Sales $44,177,000 $5,000
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 106.3%   -88.6%
2002 Average Direct Sales per Participating Farm $3,354.38 $2,750.00
2012 Average Direct Sales per Participating Farm $6,613.32 $833.33
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 97.2%   -69.7%
2002 Farm Direct Sales per Capita $6.11 $29.12
2012 Farm Direct Sales per Capita $11.37 $3.51
Percentage Change 2002 to 2012 86.2%   -88.0%
FARMS MARKETING PRODUCTS THROUGH A CSA Oregon Wheeler
2007 Marketed through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) 311 0
2012 Marketed through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) 391 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 25.7%  
2012 Percent of Farms Selling Through CSA 1.1% 0.0%
NUMBER OF FARMERS MARKETS Oregon Wheeler
2009 Farmers Markets (Data from ERS Food Environment Atlas) 100 0
2015 Farmers Markets 172 0
Percentage Change from 2009 to 2015 72%
2009 Citizens Per Farmers Market 38,235
2015 Citizens Per Farmers’ Market 23,039
Percentage Change 2009 to 2015 -39.7%
SCHOOL DISTRICTS PURCHASING LOCAL FOOD Oregon Wheeler
2014-2015 School Year (ODE Grantee list) 130 1
Number of School Districts 202 3
Percent of Districts Reporting Purchases of Local Food 64%   33%
FARMS MARKETING DIRECT TO RETAIL Oregon Wheeler
2007 No Data
2012 1,898 2
2012 Percent of Farms Selling Direct to Retail 5.4%   1.3%
     
NUMBER OF SOLE PROPRIETOR FOOD BUSINESSES (NAICS 311) Oregon Wheeler
2007 467 0
2013 753 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 61.24%
TOTAL NUMBER OF FOOD PROCESSOR EMPLOYERS (NAICS 311) Oregon Wheeler
2007 498 0
2013 548 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2012 10.0%   NA
2007 FOOD PROCESSORS BY NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES Oregon Wheeler
1-4 Employees 163 0
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 0
Ranges for non-disclosed data
2007 Total Processor Payroll $686,511,000 $0
2013 FOOD PROCESSORS BY NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES Oregon Wheeler
1-4 Employees 202 0
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 23.9%    
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 -4.2%
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 0
Ranges for non-disclosed data
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 10.6%
2012 Total Processor Payroll $848,004,000
Percentage Change 2007 to 2013 23.5%