Crook County

Land-Use FAQ’s

Crook County is located in the geographic center of Oregon in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The county’s economy is driven by agriculture, construction, forest products, livestock, manufacturing, recreation and tourism. In 2007 the county celebrated its 125th anniversary.

The HDFFA provides educational information for agricultural producers to make choices that benefit their viability. Below are frequently asked questions about farmland and land use. Crook County defers to state statute on its allowed uses in Farm Zones.  *Note that these are only recommendations based on an analysis in 2011.

Frequently Asked Questions: Click on the following FAQ’s to read the answers.

Can I have a house on my farm or ranch?

If your land meets the County’s definition of a commercial ranch or farm, a farm dwelling is allowed.  The County defines commercial agricultural as farm operations that contribute in a substantial way to the area’s existing agricultural economy.  The County will also look at such things as soil productivity, type and acreage of crops, and processing and marketing practices.

I need help on my farm, can I house farm workers?

You can have an farm hand or secondary resource  dwelling for farm help if your property is defined as a farm (see above), and if you can show that the accessory dwelling will be occupied by persons who are required for the farming use of the parcel.

What if my parcel doesn't meet the commercial farm definition but I still want to live on it and farm?

You can get a Conditional Use Permit  to put a home on farm land that doesn’t qualify as a farm because it’s too small, has limited water, or poor soils.  This is called a nonfarm dwelling.  You  need to demonstrate two main things:  (1) your dwelling won’t make it harder or more expensive for your neighbors to farm (recognizing that houses and dust, flies, and fertilizer don’t always mix); and (2) where you plan to put your house is the least productive part of the parcel because of poor soil or lack of irrigation.

Can I divide my farm land?

There are ways to partition (divide a parcel into three or fewer parcels) farm land in Crook County – however, subdivisions (divide a parcel into more than three parcels) on farm land are not allowed anywhere in Oregon.

A farm land division is subject to the minimum parcel size of the applicable farm zone (EFU-1 = 160 acres; EFU-2 = 80 acres; and EFU-3 = 160 acres).  If you have a big enough parcel, you can create up to three farm or ranch parcels.

If you want to partition off a small piece, and  if the original or parent parcel was created before July 1, 2001, one or two new nonfarm parcels may be divided off the parent parcel – as long as the parent parcel retains the minimum acreage required in the zone.  There is no minimum lot size for the new nonfarm parcel, but you will need to show that the new parcel is located on a part of the parcel that’s not suitable for farming because of slope or poor soils.

You will need to follow the standard steps for a new house on either a farm or nonfarm parcel (see FAQ – Home on Farmland).

Can I put in a farm stand?

Crook County defers to state statute on its allowed uses in Farm Zones. Assuming that the Smudgie Goose Farm is zone EFU, then a farm stand is allowed. Here is the text from the State Statute ORS 215.283:

215.283 Uses permitted in exclusive farm use zones in nonmarginal lands counties; rules. (1) The following uses may be established in any area zoned for exclusive farm use:

(o) Farm stands if:

(A) The structures are designed and used for the sale of farm crops or livestock grown on the farm operation, or grown on the farm operation and other farm operations in the local agricultural area, including the sale of retail incidental items and fee-based activity to promote the sale of farm crops or livestock sold at the farm stand if the annual sale of incidental items and fees from promotional activity do not make up more than 25 percent of the total annual sales of the farm stand; and

(B) The farm stand does not include structures designed for occupancy as a residence or for activity other than the sale of farm crops or livestock and does not include structures for banquets, public gatherings or public entertainment.