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Pink sunset over Dawson County, Montana badlands

Dawson County

Dawson County in central eastern Montana has an area of 2,383.5 square miles and a population of 8,966. Most of the residents of the county live in the city of Glendive. Richey, Montana, population 187, is the only other incorporated community in the county and has the only other high school. The Yellowstone River runs southwest to northeast across the southern half of the county; the Redwater River flows in the same direction through the far north end. Landcover types in the county are approximately 52 percent grassland and 28 percent cultivated crops with smaller areas of badlands, riparian zones, sagebrush steppe, woody draws and introduced vegetation.

Organized in 1869, Dawson County was the tenth state-organized county in the Montana Territory. Railroad development, conflicts due to encroachment upon Sioux tribal hunting grounds, large cattle drives, homesteading and irrigation have all played important roles in the area's history.

Today, most of the land in Dawson County is privately owned and is dedicated to agriculture. The majority of cropland is used to grow wheat, followed by forage, lentils, corn for grain, sugar beets, and barley grain. Cattle and sheep operations are also important. The NRCS office, located in Glendive, offers voluntary technical and financial assistance to private landowners interested in natural resource conservation based on a focused approach using long range planning with local input.

Current Financial Assistance Opportunities for Dawson County Landowners​

In addition to these local projects, producers may also apply for statewide programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program, national Environmental Quality Incentives Program initiatives, and conservation easement programs. For more information on these and other programs, see State Programs and Initiatives on the NRCS Montana webpage.

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