Sweet Grass County is in the Upper Yellowstone River region of southcentral Montana, due north of Yellowstone National Park. Mountain ranges include the Crazy Mountains in the northeast and the Beartooth Mountains in the South. Most of the county is drained by the Yellowstone River and its tributaries; the Yellowstone Valley is relatively flat and wide throughout most of the county. The County is nearly 1,192,000 acres in size and land ownership is private, federal (mostly National Forest), and state.
Historically, the area has been important as hunting grounds for Native Americans, to French fur traders, early cattle trail herders, stagecoach lines, the railroad, sheep grazing, and mining. Today, agriculture is still the principal industry, comprised mostly of cow/calf operations that market calves each fall to feedlots in the northern plains states. The platinum-palladium mine on the East Boulder River also contributes heavily to the county’s economy.
Agricultural land use in the county is approximately 69% rangeland, 20% forest, 9% cropland (including irrigated and dryland hay), and 2% introduced species. The NRCS office, located in Big Timber, 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 Sweet Grass County Landowners
- Cayuse Hills West Drought Resistance and Resilience Targeted Implementation Plan TIP
- Rooting for Soil Health Targeted Implementation Plan (TIP)
- Cayuse Hills East Targeted Implementation Plan (TIP)
- Cayuse Hills North 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.