Agriculture percentage of NW economyAgriculture is at the core of the Northwest economy. Our farmers feed the region and the world— but they couldn’t do it without the irrigation provided by the Columbia and Snake river system and hydropower. In fact, Washington State leads the country in apple production by a landslide, with an annual value exceeding $2 billion dollars (2013). The majority of that production occurs in the central and eastern areas of the State.

Much of the Northwest’s existing agricultural land would be too dry to farm successfully without irrigation. Hydropower plays a key role because water that is stored behind dams is used to nurture crops, including wheat, barley, hops, potatoes, corn, peas, lentils, alfalfa, apples, grapes and more. In Oregon, for example, irrigated crops account for more than 75 percent of the production value of agriculture in the state.

Northwest farmers have made this region the third-largest grain exporter in the world. Our rivers and dams connect farmers to the world, helping them move locally grown food and other products to markets throughout the region and the globe.


By the Numbers: Northwest Hydropower, Farmers Feed the World

Wheat Harvest
  •  8 million: Acres of land irrigated in Idaho, Washington and Oregon by the Columbia and Snake river system.
  •  #1: Wheat export gateway in the United States 
  • #3: Global ranking of the Columbia River for grain exports, behind the Mississippi River and the Parana River in South America (#2). 
  •  $8 billion: Annual net earned income from Northwest agriculture production