Most of Prairie County is drained by the Yellowstone River, which flows through the center of the county in a northeasterly direction, and its tributaries. Located in Eastern Montana, the county has an area of 1,737 square miles and a population of 1,179. Approximately half the land in Prairie County is publicly owned and half privately owned, with ownership distributed in a checkerboard pattern throughout most of the county.
Crow, Cheyenne, and Sioux Tribes, the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the Northern Pacific Railroad, ranching, and homesteading have all played important roles in Prairie County history. During the drought in the 1930s many of the homesteaders gave up their land which was reclaimed by the U.S. Government and is now managed by the Bureau of Land Management.
Today, Prairie County’s predominant industry is agriculture with a very small area of petroleum production in the far east. Land use is divided between range or pasture land (1,006,721 acres) and crop land (168,589 acres). The Buffalo Rapids Irrigation Project provides irrigation water for the production of sugar beets, alfalfa, and corn. The NRCS office, located in Terry, 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 Prairie County Landowners
- Control and Renovation of Existing Flowing Wells Targeted Implementation Plan (TIP)
- Buffalo Rapids District Number 2 Sediment Transport and Nutrient Loss Reduction TIP
- Removal of Windmills: Improving Water Supply for Livestock & Enhancing Habitat for Prairie Birds North TIP
- Northern Great Plains Grassland Conservation RCPP Project
- Sage Grouse Initiative
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.