UI Extension, Nez Perce County addresses local and area topics, including agriculture, community development, gardening, food safety and nutrition, 4-H youth development and more. We serve as a bridge between the needs of the community and the knowledge and resources available through the University of Idaho.
Where We Are
Nez Perce County is located in the central part of Idaho’s panhandle, bordering Washington state to the west. The county expands 30 miles from east to west and 50 miles from north to south, containing a total of 542,000 acres.
Lewiston, the county seat, is located at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers. Lewiston is easily accessible from all directions by road as well as water, with the only active seaport facility in Idaho.
The diverse topography features differences in elevation ranging from 738 feet in Lewiston to 5,000 feet in the Craig Mountain area. Aside from Craig Mountain, the county’s most striking topographic feature is the deeply cut canyons of the Snake and Clearwater rivers. The mouth of Hells Canyon lies 34 miles south of the Lewis-Clark Valley on the Snake River. It is North America’s deepest gorge.
Nez Perce County’s main industries include agriculture, light manufacturing, and paper and timber products.
Many recreational activities are available throughout the entire year, including hiking, picnicking, camping and water recreation. Hunters enjoy the elk, deer and waterfowl that thrive in the area. Steelhead, bass, white sturgeon, trout, kokanee, chinook and many other fish species are represented in the area’s rivers. A variety of outfitters, jet boat and cruise ship operators provide access to the area’s waters.
Due to the diversity in topography and length of the growing season, a wide range of field and horticultural crops may be grown. The average length of the growing season in the Lewis-Clark Valley is 220 days with the first spring frost-free date approximately mid-April and the last mid-October. In contrast, the higher elevations and prairies may have growing seasons as short as 120 days.
There are approximately 353, 292 acres of farmland and 441 farms in Nez Perce County. Farm size will vary from less than 10 acres to over 10,000 acres. Major field crops include wheat, garbanzo beans, barley, peas and lentils. Dryland winter wheat is the primary crop with 84,200 acres planted in 2012, according to the USDA NASS Census of Agriculture.
- Total population (2012): 39,531
- Median age (2012): 41
- Poverty rate (2011): 13%
- Number of jobs (2011): 25,688
- Annual average wage per job (2011): $37,236
- Unemployment rate (August 2013): 5.8%
- Physician count (per 1,000 population) (2011): 2.11