Pondera County is a rural county located in the northern part of the state, containing a portion of the Blackfeet Reservation.  Over 77% of land in Pondera County is classified as farm land. 

Overview

Population
5,972
County Size (acres)
1,039,723
Land in Farms (%)
77.4
Number of Farms
486
Median Farm Size (acres) 530
Average Farm Size (acres) 1,656

 

 

 

 

 

 
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 $129 million while production expenses were over $98 million.  Government payments were 8.2% of farm revenues.

Market Value of Products Sold
$111,526,000
Government Payments
$10,629,000
Farm-Related Income
$7,154,000
Total Farm Production Expenses
$98,608,000
Net Farm Cash Income $30,700,000



 

 

 

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

Taxation

The market value of all property in Pondera County was approximately $808 million in 2019.  The taxablevalue assigned by the Montana Department of Revenue was $17 million.  Agricultural Property (as defined by Montana Department of Revenue as Class 3 Property) comprised 25% of the county's taxable value.

Property Tax Summary
2019
2014
Market Value of Property $808,285,566 $712,757,826
Taxable Value of All Property $17,481,778 $13,014,361
Taxable Value ofAgricultural Property $4,392,605 $3,870,412
Ag Taxable Value as % of All Property 25% 30%



 

 

 

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 increased by 15%, while the market value of livestock increased by 63%, from 1997 to 2017.

 

Market Value of Crops and Livestock-Pondera County

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

Crops and Livestock

Grain (50%) and cattle (19%) comprised 69% of total crop and livestock sales in 2017.


Crops and Livestock-Pondera 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 41% to 49%, while the percentage of larger farms, 500 acres or more, decreased from 59% to 51% from 2012 to 2017.

Farm Size
by Acres
2017 2012
Number of
Farms

%
Number of
Farms

%
1 to 9 15 3 21 4
10 to 49 53 11 50 10
50 to 179 71 15 59 12
180 to 499     98 20 76 15
500 to 999 55 11 59 12
1,000 or more 194 40 240 48
TOTAL 486 100 505 100
Source: Census of Agriculture:  Table 2: County Summary Highlights: 2017

Farm Size by Sales

The percentage of the smallest farms with less than $100,000 in sales increased from 58% to 64%, while the percentage of the largest farms with sales of $100,000 or more decreased from 42% to 36% from 2012 to 2017.

Farm Size 
by Sales
2017 2012
Number of 
Farms

%
Number of 
Farms

%
Less than 2,500 117 24 130 26
2,500 to 4,999 15 3 12 2
5,000 to 9,999 38 8 23 5
10,000 to 24,999 41 8 42 8
25,000 to 49,999 48 10 33 7
50,000 to 99,999 51 10 54 11
100,000 or more 176 36 211 42
TOTAL 486 100 505 100

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

Tillage and Land Use

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

Tillage
2017 2012
Number of 
Farms

%
Number of 
Farms

%
No tillage 10 2 6 1
Reduced tillage 12 2 5 1
Intensive tillage 41 8 59 14
Cover crops 25 5 16 4
TOTAL 486   505  
Source: Census of Agriculture: Table 41 Land Use Practices
 

Producer Profile 

The county producer population was slightly younger than the Montana producer population. Thirty-seven percent of county producers were under 55 years of age, while 34% 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-six percent of producers in the county were males, while 60% of Montana producers were males. Farming was the primary occupation for 54% 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 27 3 570 1
25 to 34 89 10 3,285 7
35 to 44 74 9 5,179 11
45 to 54 130 15 7,309 15
55 to 64 239 28 13,838 29
65 to 74 196 23 11,469 24
75 and older 97 11 5,587 12
Gender
Male 569 66 28,563 60
Female 291 34 18,673 40
Primary Occupation
Yes 467 54 23,847 50
No 393 46 24,314 50
TOTAL PRODUCERS 860 100 48,161 100

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Top Crops by Acre

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

 

Tops Crops by Acre-Pondera County

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

Top Livestock

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

Livestock
Number of Head
Chicken - Layers 115,236
Hogs 24,539
Cattle 24,285
Sheep 4,601
Turkeys 4,302

 

 

 

 

 


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

Employment Impact

Agricultural production employed 1,224 workers, or 45% of the county’s labor force.  According to IMPLAN, economic impact model, 693 of the workers were directly employed in production agriculture.  An additional 465 workers were employed in businesses supporting agricultural production, such as feed and fertilizer dealers, and another 66 workers were employed in other related businesses, such a grocery and drugs stores. For every 10 jobs on farms and ranches, 8 additional jobs are generated in the county.

 

Impact Type
Labor Force
Impact Multipliers
County Labor Force 2,740  
Direct Impact 693
Indirect Impact 465 0.67
Induced Impact 66 0.10
Total Impact 1,224 0.77
Agriculture Share (%) 45  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Value Added Impacts

Farms and ranches generated $50.7 million of value-added, or 25% of the county’s total gross domestic product of $204 million in 2017.  According to IMPLAN, $27.4 million was directly contributed by farmers and ranchers.  An additional $19.5 million was generated by businesses supporting agricultural production and $3.9 million was generated by other related businesses.  Each dollar of value-added in agriculture by a farmer or rancher contributes an additional $0.85 of value-added in other sectors of the county’s economy.

 


Impact Type
Value-Added
($1 million)

Impact Multipliers
County GDP* 204.0  
Direct Impact** 27.4
Indirect Impact** 19.5 0.71
Induced Impact** 3.9 0.14
Total Impact** 50.7 0.85
Agriculture Share (%) 25  











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

References


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