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Introducing Weston County: Northeast Wyoming’s diverse landscape provides opportunities for quality ag production

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The Wyoming Livestock Roundup is happy to highlight farms, ranches and agribusinesses of Weston County in our 2024 Winter Cattlemen’s Edition. 

Situated in the northeast corner of the state, Weston County shares a border with South Dakota and sprawls over a total of 1.5 million acres of diverse landscape, making it Wyoming’s 18th largest county. 

Pierre Shale Plains and Badlands, characterized by clay soils, rolling hills and river valleys,  makes up one-quarter of the county, while the steep-sided ridges, rocky hills and large plateaus of the Black Hills make up another quarter.

The rest of the county is marked by vast, flat grasslands and sandy soils, encompassing a large part of the Thunder Basin National Grassland. 

Elevation across the county’s varied topography ranges from 3,600 to 6,500 feet, and the climate is semi-arid with cold winters and hot summers.

On average, Weston County receives 10 to 19 annual inches of precipitation and has a 120-day growing season between mid-May and mid-September.

From tree covered hills to wide open prairies and rolling plains, land in Weston County has many uses, including forestry, pasture and crops. The largest use by far is rangeland, which sprawls over a total of 1.2 million acres. 

Weston County agriculture 

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service’s (NASS) 2017 Census of Agriculture, Weston County is home to 247 agriculture operations and land in farms totals 1,227,012 acres. 

Of the county’s agricultural land, 94 percent is classified as pastureland, three percent as cropland and two percent as woodland. 

The sheer amount of grazing opportunities has made Weston County a haven for livestock operations, and as of 2017, the county reported 44,627 head of cattle and calves; 2,685 head of sheep and lambs; 1,635 horses and ponies; 929 layers; 233 pullets; 123 hogs and pigs and 85 goats. 

The number one crop grown in Weston County is hay and haylage at 21,234 acres, according to NASS. 

NASS also reports Weston County accounts for two percent of state agriculture sales, with the total market value of agriculture products sold topping $34,273,000. The majority of these sales come from livestock, poultry and product sales at $33,657,000 and the remaining $617,000 comes from the sale of crops.

State rankings

Despite being one of Wyoming’s smallest counties, Weston County boasts a few top 10 rankings in the state.

According to NASS, Weston County ranks third in the production of cultivated Christmas trees, as well as short-rotation and woody crops. 

Additionally, Weston County ranks seventh in milk from cows and 10th in poultry and eggs. 

Information in this article was compiled from the Wyoming Historical Society, Weston County’s official website and USDA NASS. 

Hannah Bugas is the managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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