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Baker County - Information for Partners and Participants

Baker County, OregonBaker County comprises approximately 1,977,000 acres of land. There is 964,000 acres of private land of which approximately 127,000 acres is irrigated cropland or hayland, 638,000 acres is rangeland and 128,000 acres is forest. Fifty-one percent of the county is publicly owned. The major drainages in the county include the Powder River, Burnt River and Pine Creek. The NRCS office is located in Baker City. The NRCS staff provides technical assistance and administers NRCS financial assistance conservation programs.

Baker County Long Range Plan

NRCS Oregon uses a Strategic Approach to Conservation to address priority natural resource concerns in specific watersheds and landscapes across the state. It all begins with a Long Range Plan. Each county develops a Long Range Plan with input from landowners, agency partners and other stakeholders that identifies and prioritizes natural resource concerns in the community. Based on those plans, NRCS works with partners to develop local Conservation Implementation Strategies to help agricultural producers in those targeted areas implement conservation practices that address the resource concerns. Long Range Plans are updated to reflect the changing needs and objectives of the county's natural resources.

Priority natural resource concerns in Baker County are: 1) Rangeland Health; 2) Forest Health and 3) Water Quantity/Quality.

Current Financial Assistance Opportunities for Farmers, Ranchers and Forest Owners in Baker County

The following Conservation Implementation Strategies are available to help Baker County agricultural producers address targeted resource concerns identified in the Long Range Plan. Click the project names below for more information:

Additional Funding Opportunities...

In addition to the local projects above, producers may also apply for statewide programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program, the Organic Initiative, Seasonal High Tunnel Initiative, On-Farm Energy Initiative, and conservation easement programs. Visit with your local District Conservationist for more information on these and other programs, or visit the NRCS Programs webpage.

Local Work Group Meetings

Every year, NRCS hosts a Local Work Group meeting where farmers, landowners, conservation partners and other members of the community discuss the natural resource needs for the county. Based on feedback from those meetings, NRCS updates the county's Long Range Plan and develops new Conservation Implementation Strategies to address those resource concerns. You may contact us anytime to express concerns or comments about conservation needs in the county, and we encourage you to attend the next Local Work Group meeting in your county. For more information about Local Work Group meetings, contact your local NRCS office.

Snowpack Information in Baker County

Contact Your Baker County Conservationist

Other Resources Available:

Success Stories in Baker County

The Defrees Family, Baker County Oregon

Grounded in Principle, Oregon ranchers maximize soil health on grazing lands

With innovation comes risk. Trying something new can be uncertain and scary, especially when your livelihood depends on it. But for several Oregon ranchers, their appetite for innovation is creating positive change to revive the land, bolster production, and maximize profits.

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Oregon Ranchers Raise Cattle with a Conservation Vision

Mark and Patti Bennett own a small slice of heaven: an 8,000-acre working ranch near Unity, Oregon. Their home and red-trimmed barn look out on a series of meadows along Camp Creek that stretch for miles in the shadow of Bull Run Mountain. A few red angus cattle munch on grass nearby, and the smoke from their fireplace rises out of the chimney as we talk about how they manage their ranch.

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Building Healthy Rangeland Soils

Eastern Oregon rancher Dick Fleming wants to make the most of every precious drop of rain on his rangeland. His 3,305-acre ranch in Baker County gets only seven inches of rain a year on average, and has a limited growing season of six weeks. It’s most definitely a challenge for Fleming—and other Eastern Oregon ranchers—to maintain moisture for forage production.

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EAST FACE: Landowner leverages NRCS partnership to improving wildlife habitat & forest health

Like many woodland owners in eastern Oregon, Tim Fisher enjoys and appreciates the value wildlife brings to his 1,500-plus acres in Baker County.

“I love watching the elk up here,” he said as he drove his pickup truck up a steep dirt road on his property, a mountainous view surrounding him.

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EAST FACE: Landowner gives conservation a try with NRCS -- and he’s coming back for more

For eastern Oregon ranchers like Bill Loennig, starting small can lead to big benefits. That was his approach for a recent cost-share partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to improve forest health along the East Face of the Elkhorn Mountains.

This summer, contractors completed timber thinning and tree stand improvements on 37 of his 900-plus acres in Baker County -- and Loennig couldn’t be happier with the results.