Grains provided the biggest boost for the North Central District in 2011 - climbing by $143 million or 55.1 percent to total $402.2 million. The North Central District accounted for about 63 percent Oregon's grains sales in 2011 and looking at total farm sales growth, it seeded 17.2 percent of Oregon's gain. Grains were also the North Central district's number one commodity, representing about 31-cents out of every $1 in 2011 farm sales.
Small fruits were sweet in 2011, with sales growing $1.3 million or 68.6 percent to reach $3.5 million. Hay and forage sales rose by 42 percent in 2011 to total $75.5 million, while grass and legume seeds rose by nearly 41 percent to total $15.1 million. Tree fruits and nuts are also import for the North Central district but sales rose by just 3.6 percent to total $179.5 million; about 53 percent of Oregon's sales. Field crops made a comeback in 2011, with sales rising by 10.8 percent to $139.7 million. 2010 North Central district animal product sales grew to $290.2 million, an increase of $15.3 million or 5.6 percent.
Umatilla County accounted for close to $2-in-$5 (39%) of the North Central District's 2011 agricultural sales. And close behind, Morrow County laid claim to well over $1-in-$3 (37%) of the district's sales. Statewide, Umatilla County's sales total was good enough to rank second behind Marion County at $503.2 million. Umatilla County led Oregon grain sales ($172.2 million), ranked first in field crops ($71.2 million), first in vegetables ($63.4 million), third behind Hood River and Wasco counties for fruit trees and nuts ($43.1 million) and third for cattle and calves ($69 million).
Farm sales in Morrow County rose to $477.1 million in 2011, an increase of $81.3 million, or 20.5 percent. Morrow County's farm sales ranked third in Oregon, just in back of Umatilla County and number one Marion County. Animal product sales in Morrow County led the state in 2011, bringing in $168.9 million. Grain sales in Morrow County ranked second in Oregon, reaching $119.7 million, while field crops sales grew to $68.5 million, just in back of Umatilla County to rank second. Vegetable crops ($52.4 million) and hays and forage ($42 million) were also important, with 2010 sales ranking second highest in each group.
Farm sales in 2011 in Hood River and Wasco counties ranked 14th and 10th, respectively. Wasco County's farm sales rose to $113.6 million, an increase of $26.3 million or 30.2 percent compared with 2010. Hood River County's sales landed in the minus column in 2011, falling to $79.3 million, a loss of $8.3 million or -9.5 percent. Hood River County's agricultural focus is primarily limited to tree fruit and nuts, where sales fell to $76.6 million in 2011 (-8.9%) but it still represented 22.7 percent of Oregon's total tree fruit and nut sales. Wasco County produced $59.4 million in tree fruit and nuts, an increase of 30.5 percent and a second place ranking behind Hood River County. Grains were also a significant crop in Wasco County ($30.1 million), with sales rising by $10 million or nearly 50 percent in one year. Within the district, Wasco County sold 8.8 percent of the North Central total, while Hood River County accounted for 6.1 percent.
Gilliam, Sherman, and Wheeler counties all have a relatively narrow agricultural focus and limited sales. However, on a per capita basis, their agricultural sales rank quite highly. Grains were the most important commodity in Gilliam and Sherman counties, while cattle and calves commanded the action in Wheeler County. Gilliam County's sales reached $35.6 million in 2011, an increase of nearly 40 percent or $10 million, and good enough to rank 25th in Oregon. Sherman County ranked much higher in 2011, up to 16th, with $66.7 million in sales, an increase of 34.4 percent or $17.1 million. Farm sales in Wheeler County rose by $1.9 million in 2011 (+14.4%) to total $14.9 million but its rank was 36th or last. To lend a little perspective, per capita or per person sales ranked second statewide in Sherman County at $37,789, third in Gilliam County at $18,949 and sixth in Wheeler County at $10,378. Morrow County ranked first in 2011 with $42,336 in farm sales per capita; Oregon's farm sales in 2010 reached $1,348 per capita.