Located in the Palouse region in southeast Washington, Whitman County features beautiful rolling hills and is home to one of the state’s largest colleges, Washington State University. The state’s largest wheat producer, Whitman County features a primarily agriculture-based economy: in addition to wheat, the county is first in the nation for edible dry pea production, barley, lentils, and produces a significant amount of peas and grass seed. Whitman County is also the state’s largest producer of hogs and pigs. As a result, farms in Whitman County are extremely large and make up most of the county land, with the average farm size exceeding a thousand acres.
Because dry crop farming is not very labor intensive, Whitman County’s main source of employment is actually 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.
County Seat: Colfax
Incorporation Date: January 2, 1872
Form of Government: General Law
Area: 2,159 sq mi (5,592 km2)
Population: 50,130 (2019)
Etymology: Marcus Whitman (1802–1847), a Methodist missionary