Madison County in southwestern Montana is characterized by the Madison Range in the East and the Ruby Range and the Snowcrest Range in the Southwest. The central part of the area contains the Tobacco Root mountains and the Gravelly Range which split the county into three main valleys. The Madison River drains the eastern part, the Ruby River drains the western part, and the Jefferson River drains the northern part of the county. The population of Madison county was estimated at 7,810 in 2016, with a population density of 2 people per square mile. Private land ownership is concentrated along river valleys, while much of the more mountainous land is publicly owned.
About 80 percent of the land in Madison County is rangeland or grazeable woodland. More than 85 percent of the farm income is derived from livestock, mainly cattle. Winter wheat and barley are the most commonly grown non-irrigated crops, found mainly in the Harrison-Norris area. The major areas of irrigated cropland are along the bottom lands of the Ruby, Beaverhead, Big Hole, and Jefferson Rivers. Hay and pasture are the most common. The NRCS office, located in Sheridan, 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 Madison County Landowners
- East Tobacco Roots Riparian Health Targeted Implementation Plan (TIP)
- South Tobacco Roots Rangeland and Conifer Encroachment Targeted Implementation Plan (TIP)
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.