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Coronavirus COVID-19

COVID-19 Advisory: WSU Extension is working to keep our communities safe. All Extension programming is being provided virtually, postponed, or canceled. Effective March 16, 2020, WSU Extension county offices and WSU Research & Extension Centers will be closed to the public. We are available via email, phone, and webconference.

Agriculture in Thurston County

Program Contact: Stephen Bramwell
(360) 867-2161 •
WSU Extension Thurston County provides research-based information and educational programs to farmers, consumers, decision-makers, and others involved in the South Sound food system.


Thurston County’s farmland is rapidly disappearing.  Between 2002 and 2007, the acreage of actively farmed land has dropped nearly in half – from 74,420 acres to 38,718 acres.  Since the mid 1950s, when Thurston County was primarily farmland, the County has lost over 75 percent of its working agricultural lands.Though the land area dedicated to agricultural activities has been steadily eroding, agricultural production it is still of significant importance to the County’s economy.  The total market value of agricultural production in Thurston County is about $118 million from 1,288 farms, with crops accounting for approximately 42% of the total and livestock and poultry the remaining 58% (U.S. Census of Agriculture).  These figures are greater than that of all adjacent counties.

Farming activity is varied, ranging from berry farming, egg farms, organic produce, and tree farming.  Much of the economic viability of farming is tied to access to local markets, including the six farmers markets operating in the County: Olympia Farmers Market, West Olympia Farmers MarketTumwater Farmers MarketLacey Community Market, Tenino Farmers Market, and Yelm Farmers Market. Direct-to-institution relationships are also increasing in importance, including sales to schools and hospitals. The County is centrally-situated between the Seattle-Tacoma and Portland metropolitan areas, two large markets experiencing a resurgence of interest in local foods. The South of the Sound Community Land Trust maintains a South Sound Direct Sales Farm Map which lists many local farms engaging in direct-market sales. Additionally, the South Sound Food System Network was formed in 2016 as a grassroots citizens organization composed of a diverse group of community stakeholders to foster collaboration and active engagement in the local food system.

Agriculture Statistics:

Food and Farming Reports: