Richland County Tops in Agriculture
Agriculture is the major industry in Richland County and it is here that the county truly lives up to its name, ranking among the top counties across the state in many key production categories* including:
|1st in Sugar Beet Acreage and Production||8th in Durum Wheat Production
|1st in Oats Production||10th in Other Spring Wheat Production|
|3rd in Dry Bean Production|
Other major Ag products and livestock produced in Richland County include corn, alfalfa, hay, swine and sheep. Grain shipments from the county's four elevators located in Sidney, Fairview, and Lambert totaled 5-6 million bushels. *figures are for 1996, the latest available
Major Ag Players in Richland County
Busch Agriculture Resources,
Inc.: It is the promise that comes with every beer brewed by
Anheuser-Busch and the secret to the company's success. As every
brewer knows, quality beers can only be made with quality
ingredients. Helping the world's largest brewer fulfill its promise is
Busch Agriculture Resources, Inc., the company's agriculture subsidy and
supplier of quality malted barley, hops and rice used in brewing of
Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Project (LYIP): the LYIP, the backbone for the ag industry in the Lower Yellowstone Valley, supplies irrigation water to 56.000 acres through a network of 325 miles of canals, laterals, and drains. Originally build by the Bureau of Reclamation in 1907-1909, the Project is now operated by the local water users. The LYIP has responsibility to operate and maintain the facilities serving about 400 constituents. The LYIP employs 22 people and has an operating budget of $1.6 million.
Sidney Sugars, Inc.: Sidney Sugars in Sidney is a major employer in Richland County providing full time employment for approximately 150 people and part time employment for 280 more with an annual payroll of approximately $5.7 million. Another $50 million is paid out to local farm families for sugar beets grown on 47,500 acres of irrigated land. The refinery also ships 200,000 tons of sugar, pulp and molasses by rail and 75,000 tons by truck.
Yellowstone Livestock Market Center: The Sidney Livestock Market Center attracts ranchers from 11 Eastern Montana counties to its modern livestock sales barn facility. Continuously updated, the center features a sales ring scale of computerized office for faster service. The market center was 6th in total cattle sold in 1996 (behind only Billings' two outlets, Butte, Great Falls and Miles City).
Research and Other Support
Both State and federal research scientists work in Sidney, the county seat, at the Montana State University Eastern Agricultural Research Center and the USDA-ARS Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory/Pest Management and Agricultural Systems Research Unit, focusing on both irrigated and dryland agricultural research. The USDA offices located in Sidney include:
Consolidated Farm Service Agency
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Approximately 200 unit trains originate in Richland County annually, moving 15-20 million bushels of grain from Richland County and the surrounding area in 2003. This is a grand increase with the introduction of Busch Agriculture Resources, Inc. In 1996, there were 19 unit trains and 9 million bushels of grain taken out of Richland County.
Richland County is rich in natural resources including oil where it ranks 2nd in the state in
both new and ongoing production according to the Montana Oil and Gas Annual Review 1995, Volume 39.
Honey Production and
The Fairview area in Richland County produces 2 million pounds of honey per year. These honey bees also pollinate 6,000 acres of California almond trees that produce 12 million pounds of almonds per year.