Dawson County is a rural county located in the eastern part of the state. Over 74% of land in Dawson County is classified as farm land.

Overview

Population
8,680
County Size (acres)
1,518,028
Land in Farms (%)
74.6
Number of Farms
487
Median Farm Size (acres) 640
Average Farm Size (acres) 2,326

 

 

 

 

 

 
Source: Census of Agriculture: Table 1: County Summary Highlights: 2017

Farm Revenue

Farm revenue (which includes the market value of products sold, government payments, and farm-related income) were over $75 million while production expenses were nearly $61 million. Government payments were 10% of farm revenues.

 

Market Value of Products Sold
$58,188,000
Government Payments
$7,569,000
Farm-Related Income
$9,855,000
Total Farm Production Expenses
$60,952,000
Net Farm Cash Income $14,659,000



 

 

 

Source: Census of Agriculture: Tables 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6:  2017   

Taxation

The market value of all property in Dawson County was approximately $1 billion in 2019.  The taxable value assigned by the Montana Department of Revenue was $26 million.  Agricultural Property (as defined by Montana Department of Revenue as Class 3 property) comprised 14% of the county's taxable value.

Property Tax Summary
2019
2014
Market Value of Property   $1,027,096,437 $609,442,373
Taxable Value of All Property $26,143,232 $3,598,177
Taxable Value ofAgricultural Property $3,691,344 $20,223,995
Ag Taxable Value as % of All Property 14.1% 17.7%



 

 

 

Source: Montana Dept. of Rev. Montana Taxes by County in2018and Montana Taxes by County in2014  

Market Value of Crops and Livestock

After adjusting for inflation, the market value of crops decreased by 18%, while the market value of livestock increased by 51%, from 1997 to 2017.


Market Value of Crops and Livestock-Dawson County

Sources: Census of Agriculture: Table 1: County Summary Highlights: 2017 and St. Louis Fed Producer Price Index

Crops and Livestock

Cattle (54%) and grain (31%) comprised 85% of total crop and livestock sales in 2017.

Crops and Livestock-Dawson County

Source: Census of Agriculture:  Table 2: County Summary Highlights: 2017

Farm Size by Acres 

The percentage of smaller farms, less than 500 acres, increased from 39% to 44%, while the percentage of larger farms, 500 acres or more, decreased from 61% to 56% from 2012 to 2017.

Farm Size
by Acres
2017 2012
Number of
Farms

%
Number of
Farms

%
1 to 9 16 3 33 7
10 to 49 44 9 29 6
50 to 179 68 14 58 12
180 to 499     89 18 67 14
500 to 999 66 14 54 11
1,000 or more 204 42 244 50
TOTAL 487 100 485 100
Source: Census of Agriculture:  Table 2: County Summary Highlights: 2017
 

Farm Size by Sales

The proportion of total sales from the smallest farms with less than $100,000 in sales increased from 63% to 69%, while the proportion of total sales from the largest farms with sales of $100,000 or more decreased from 37% to 31% from 2012 to 2017.

 
Farm Size 
by Sales
2017 2012
Number of 
Farms

%
Number of 
Farms

%
Less than 2,500 160 33 132 27
2,500 to 4,999 17 3 13 3
5,000 to 9,999 21 4 23 5
10,000 to 24,999 37 8 37 8
25,000 to 49,999 45 9 43 9
50,000 to 99,999 55 11 58 12
100,000 or more 152 31 179 37
TOTAL 487 100 485 100

Source: Census of Agriculture: Table 1: County Summary Highlights: 2017 

Tillage and Land Use

The percentage of farms using cover crops increased, while the percentage of farms using no till, reduced tillage or intensive tillage decreased from 2012 to 2017.

 
Tillage
2017 2012
Number of 
Farms

%
Number of 
Farms

%
No tillage 99 20 123 25
Reduced tillage 79 16 90 19
Intensive tillage 53 11 77 16
Cover crops 29 6 17 4
TOTAL 487   485  
Source: Census of Agriculture: Table 41 Land Use Practices
 

Producer Profile

The county producer population was older than the Montana producer population. Thirty percent of county producers were under 55 years of age, while 39% were over 65 years of age. Thirty-four percent of the Montana producer population were under 55, while 36% were over 65 years of age. Sixty-four percent of producers in the county were males, while 60% of Montana producers were males. Farming was the primary occupation for 49% of county producers, while farming was the primary occupation for 50% of Montana producers.

 

Characteristics
County State
Number of 
Producers

%
Number of 
Producers

%
Age
18 -25 3 0 570 1
25 to 34 48 6 3,285 7
35 to 44 91 10 5,179 11
45 to 54 120 14 7,309 15
55 to 64 262 30 13,838 29
65 to 74 215 25 11,469 24
75 and older 121 14 5,587 12
Gender
Male 553 64 28,563 60
Female 317 36 18,673 40
Primary Occupation
Yes 424 49 23,847 50
No 446 51 24,314 50
TOTAL PRODUCERS 870 100 48,161 100

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Census of Agriculture: Table 45 Selected Operation and Producer Characteristics 

Top Crops by Acre

The top crops were spring wheat, hay and haylage, peas dry edible, lentils, winter wheat, chickpeas, durum wheat, barley and canola.


Tops Crops by Acre-Dawson County

 Source: Census of Agriculture: Table 1: County Summary Highlights: 2017

Top Livestock

The top livestock were cattle, sheep, and poultry (chickens) and hogs.

Livestock
Number of Head
Cattle 36,427
Sheep 2,065
Chickens-Layers 722
Chickens-Broilers 375
Hogs 48

 

 

 

 

 


Source: Census of Agriculture: Tables 11 (Cattle), 13 (Sheep) and 19 (Poultry)

Employment Impact

Agricultural production employed 585 workers, or 13% of the county’s labor force.  According to IMPLAN, economic impact model, 461 of the workers were directly employed in production agriculture.  An additional 114 workers were employed in businesses supporting agricultural production, such as feed and fertilizer dealers, and another 10 workers were employed in other related businesses, such as grocery and drugs stores. For every 10 jobs on farms and ranches, 3 additional jobs are generated in the county.

Impact Type
Labor Force
Impact Multipliers
County Labor Force 4,678  
Direct Impact 461
Indirect Impact 114 0.25
Induced Impact 10 0.02
Total Impact 585 0.27
Agriculture Share (%) 13  

 

 

 

 

 

 


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov/#cntyaa and IMPLAN Estimates    

Value Added Impacts

Farms and ranches generated $28.8 million of value-added, or 7% of the county’s total gross domestic product of $436 million in 2017.  According to IMPLAN, $18.2 million was directly contributed by farmers and ranchers.  An additional $9.8 million was generated by businesses supporting agricultural production and $0.8 million was generated by other related businesses.  Each dollar of value-added in agriculture by a farmer or rancher contributes an additional $0.58 of value-added in other sectors of the county’s economy.

 


Impact Type
Value - Added
($1 million)

Impact Multipliers
County GDP* 436.0  
Direct Impact** 18.2
Indirect Impact** 9.8 0.54
Induced Impact** 0.8 0.05
Total Impact** 28.8 0.58
Agriculture Share (%) 7  











Sources:  * St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, ** IMPLAN Estimates  

References


Montana State University Extension is an ADA/EO/AA/Veteran’s Preference
Employer and Provider of Educational Outreach.