Whitman County Spotlight
Located in the Palouse region in southeast Washington, Whitman County features beautiful, rolling hills and one of the state’s largest colleges, Washington State University. The state’s largest wheat producer, Whitman County still features a primarily agriculture-based economy: in addition to wheat, the county is first in the nation for edible dry pea production, barley, and lentils, and produces a significant amount of peas and grass seed. Whitman County is also the state’s largest producer of hogs and pigs, rounding out its agriculture based economy. As a result, farms in Whitman County are extremely large and make up most of the county land, with the average size farm exceeding a thousand acres.
Because dry crop farming is not very labor intensive, Whitman County’s main source of employment is not agriculture, but manufacturing. Due to the inclusion of Washington State University, Whitman County also has a retail trade and government service presence, as thousands of students live and study in the county’s largest city, Pullman. While government employment remains relatively steady, Whitman County is beginning to trend towards greater manufacturing opportunities, particularly with the growth of Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, which produces digital relays for electric power systems.