Swift Dam


Pondera County is located in the heart of the Golden Triangle, famous for quality wheat and barley production. The county contains 1625 square miles and is very rural with approximately 6400 residents in the communities of Conrad, Valier, Dupuyer, Brady, and Heart Butte. The elevation varies from 3300' on the eastern plains to 8500' at the Continental Divide. Major watersheds include the Marias and Teton River drainages. Lake Frances near  Valier is fed from Swift Reservoir and is a major supplier for irrigation and household water. Also, the Tiber water system has approximately 450 miles of water lines to serve 270 households, utilizing water impounded at Lake Elwell on the Marias River.

There are approximately 950,000 acres in farms in Pondera County, comprised of pasture land, dry land, and irrigated. Crops grown in the county include wheat, barley, pulses, oilseeds, and hay. Beef cattle and sheep are also important agricultural products raised in the county. 
Health facilities and retirement homes also are important economic contributors in Pondera County. The Pondera Medical Center is very modern and serves a multi-county area with an economic impact of over $12 million.
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Upcoming Events

January 9, 2020–Golden Triangle Cropping Seminar
Join us at 8:30 at the Pondera Shooting Sports Complex in Conrad for the annual cropping seminar. Topics discussed will include market forecasting, fungicide efficacy, oilseed crops, and online tools from the Southern Ag Research Center. Pesticide points will be available and lunch and snacks will be provided. Please register for lunch by calling 271-4054 or emailing adriane.good@montana.edu by January 3.
Farm & Ranch Ready - January 11, 2020 - St. Luke's Lutheran Church, Shelby MT
Are your ready for all the things that go wrong on your farm or ranch? Join us at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church in Shelby starting at 9:00 am for a one day workshop covering first aid, electrical safety, farm safety, fire   safety, blizzard readiness, and financial planning. The workshop cost is $15, lunch, snacks, and door prizes will be provided.
January  23– February 27, 2020- Master Farmer

Are you starting the process of taking over the farm from your parents and worried something will go wrong while they’re watching? Are you suspicious that all those salesmen are trying to sell you things you don’t need? Or do you just want to improve your agronomy skills prior to the 2020 cropping season? Join this 6 part course to brush up on your knowledge of soil health, weed management, specialty crops and rotation options, marketing, long term operation success, and acquiring land to farm. Classes will start at 6 p.m. every Thursday at the Moose Lodge in Conrad. The entire program costs $75 to attend, which includes supper every week. Pesticide points will be available at some of the classes. Sign up by January 16 by calling the office at 271-4054 or go to the online registration form. Checks can be made out to Pondera County Extension.


January 31– February 1, 2020 –Next Generation Conference
The annual Next Generation Conference is happening once again in Shelby! We have a great slate of speakers lined up to talk about a variety of topics including trade, livestock production and marketing, crop production and marketing, ag policy, and diversification options. It’s a conference that has something for everybody!  Registration will open in December, check out mtnextgen.com or call the office at 271-4054 to get a registration form.