MSU Extension- Judith Basin County
Judith Basin County is located in central Montana in a fertile basin between the Highwood, Big Snowy, and Little Belt mountains. The county population is 2,016 people. The principal communities are Stanford (county seat located about 65 miles east of Great Falls), Hobson and Geyser. Numerous other small communities make up the county. Judith Basin County’s economy is based on agriculture. The major components of this industry include livestock, small grains and forage production. The county ranks 10th in Montana for beef cattle numbers, 10th in winter wheat production, 15th in barley production, 23rd for spring wheat production, 4th for alfalfa hay production, and 21st for other hay production. Timber and mining enterprises take place on a small scale. The MSU Central Ag Research Center is located in the county. The Judith Basin 4-H programs consist of 90 youth members and 29 volunteer leaders in four organized clubs. The county offers a variety of recreational opportunities, which include hiking, hunting, fishing, camping, snowmobiling and skiing. A major ski area is about 45 minutes from Stanford. The Judith Basin was the home of the legendary western artist Charlie Russell. Many of his paintings were scenes captured by the artist between Lewistown and Great Falls.
The Judith Basin is nestled in the heart of the state known as the Last Best Place,
the basin truly fits the classic Montana description of "high, wide and handsome."
Island mountain ranges such as the Highwoods and the Snowies surround a sea of grass
and wheat making it easy to enjoy the rich bounty of this land.
The legendary Western artist Charlie Russell learned the ways of the cowboy and mountain man here in the basin, and many of his most famous paintings were inspired by the landscape and drama that unfolded here as the West was settled. Highway 87 between Great Falls and Lewistown is known as the Charlie Russell Trail. Square Butte, Stanford, Utica and the Judith River country are all scenes captured in Russell’s art.