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Old 10-18-2007, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Maryland
2 posts, read 7,259 times
Reputation: 10

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Hi,

I am really interested in Harding County (I need some setting info for a story I'm writing). From my research, I've gathered that the county has a lot of large cattle ranches.

Is this correct? Anybody know what types of cows/cattle? (this is where I admit I've never been near a beef cow). Is there also farming? And if so, what are the main crops in northwestern SD?

I'm also interested in what type of stores/restaurants might be in Buffalo/Camp Crook/ and Redig. Chains? Locally owned?

Next, I know there is a Harding County Sheriff and some county officers--but are there town police officers? Do they drive cruisers or SUVs/trucks? A state police presence?

Finally, I get the impression that it can be really dry in northwest SD. Is this true? Is it dusty? When does the grass start going brown from the heat and the leaves change for the fall?

Any and all knowledge about Harding County would be hugely welcomed and appreciated. I want to make sure I depict the area as accurately as possible.

Thank you!
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Old 10-18-2007, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
3,940 posts, read 9,682,133 times
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Welcome mojavelin! I live in Rapid City, which is in southwestern South Dakota, but the climate is basically the same so I will give you an idea of what rural, northwestern South Dakota is like.

Mostly large cattle ranches that raise angus beef. People usually drive large trucks capable of hauling grain and other farming equipment. Everyone has trailers in case they need to haul more. Towns in the area are usually less than 500 people. I believe that Buffalo is the Harding County Seat. The climate is dry with extremely hot summers and extremely cold winters. The seasons change very fast. It can go from 80 degrees one day to snow the next! It is not really "dusty" per se, just dryer than most other areas of the country with exception of deserts. Water is a very precious commodity.

Most people are invovled in agriculture in some way or another. Law enforcement usually entails one or two sheriffs for a whole county and a few deputies and lieutenants underneath them. They drive SUV's usually Ford Explorers, Dodge Durangos, or similar. People usually drive to Rapid City, Spearfish, Sturgis, Belle Fourche, or another large town for shopping, entertainment, or medical help. If someone is in need of emergency medical treatment, a helicopter is sent from Rapid City to pick them up.

Hope this helps! Are you doing a school project or looking to move?
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Old 10-18-2007, 05:42 PM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
17,895 posts, read 22,600,907 times
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In what time frame are you writing about. What years? Makes a big difference on the cattle industry and the farming.
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Old 10-18-2007, 08:54 PM
 
Location: Maryland
2 posts, read 7,259 times
Reputation: 10
Default Time Frame Clarification

I'm looking for how conditions are now. I just found a newspaper article published in the last few days saying that you've been having a terrible drought in that part of the state and that ranchers are reducing their stock.

Is there any kind of irrigation then? (here on the eastern shore of Maryland, it's long stretches of spray irrigators). And I assume most people are on wells. Additional questions: Here we call farm buildings sheds, barns, and morton buildings--are there different or additional names used in that region? Also, do original homesteads still exist on ranches/farms?

DannyBanany, thanks so much for the info! I hadn't even thought about the use of a helicopter. I did notice an airstrip in Buffalo--would this be used for small, private planes because it seems the closest commercial airport is Rapid City? I'm looking for information because I've written a novel based in the area and am trying to make sure that I didn't make any gross errors. I am definitely going to come and visit someday!
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Old 10-18-2007, 10:18 PM
 
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
3,940 posts, read 9,682,133 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mojavelin View Post
I'm looking for how conditions are now. I just found a newspaper article published in the last few days saying that you've been having a terrible drought in that part of the state and that ranchers are reducing their stock.

Is there any kind of irrigation then? (here on the eastern shore of Maryland, it's long stretches of spray irrigators). And I assume most people are on wells. Additional questions: Here we call farm buildings sheds, barns, and morton buildings--are there different or additional names used in that region? Also, do original homesteads still exist on ranches/farms?

DannyBanany, thanks so much for the info! I hadn't even thought about the use of a helicopter. I did notice an airstrip in Buffalo--would this be used for small, private planes because it seems the closest commercial airport is Rapid City? I'm looking for information because I've written a novel based in the area and am trying to make sure that I didn't make any gross errors. I am definitely going to come and visit someday!
Most irrigation is off of the Missouri River or Belle Fourche Reservoir, but I do not think irrigation is used as much as one would think because NW SD consists of mostly ranches and grazing land. Farming is mostly done in Eastern South Dakota where there is more moisture. The reason ranchers lost so much cattle is due to lack of rain, which means lack of grain for cattle to graze on. This recent drought was nothing like the Dust Bowl in the 1930s though!

Farm buildings are called sheds, stables, barns, etc. just like anywhere else. The airstrip in Buffalo is probably used mostly for air mail and private airliners (wealthy ranchers) and Rapid City is the only major commercial airport in Western SD. Flights out of Rapid City go into Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago, SLC, and Las Vegas. Not New York, London, or Paris; we're not international.

Often while driving through rural areas, old homesteads can be seen on ranches and farms. They are likely abandoned or just used for storage of some kind. They are usually shabby, brush-covered, and rotted. The wood is a light gray due to lack of treatment. There may also be old farm equipment next to it. Maybe an old sylo too.

You might also want to consider that most small towns have a bar and a cafe where people congregate to the most. I am not really into the whole "western" scene, but I LOVE the movie "Hud" with Paul Newman! That film may give you an idea of what NW SD is like, even though it is about a Texas ranch.

What is your book about? I look forward to reading it!
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Old 10-20-2007, 04:16 AM
 
415 posts, read 626,151 times
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Well I currently Live in Buffalo and believe me, there isn't much here LOL.
Buffalo is the County Seat. They have a Very Very Good Education System here in buffalo, Services K-12 in the same School Building. Buffalo is around 300 people or so. Camp Crook is around 80 and 90% of them are all related LOL. Redig, Well Redig isn't really a town anymore. Edgar and His wife are the only ones that still live there and he runs the Post Office there at redig that services a few of the ranchers still out here.

Buffalo Has a Grocery Store, Library (very small), 2 Gas Stations, A post Office, a Hardware Store, a Flower shop, and the Courthouse. Jobs are NON Existant up here unless you are a rancher. Most Ranches up here consist of Thousands of Acres. There are no crops unless you consider Wheat Grass, Bromme Grass, or alfalfa or any other Forage Grass. If you Count Prickly Pear Cactus then yes there is a crop up here. Stock Ponds are Dry. Water Tables can be as deep as 5000 feet down for wells. There are many abandoned homesteads that are no longer lived in but still part of the Ranches. In December or January they plan to reopen the small health clinic up here under the Rapid City Regional Health system so we will luck out there and won't have long commutes to Rapid, Sturgis, Belle or other areas for medical care anymore.

Yes Ranchers are reducing their stock due to the drought. Some areas are getting more rain than others but its still hitting the ranchers pretty hard. There's not enough water up here for Irrigation. If you have irrigation up here, your A. Either Loaded or B. Have a very Large stock pond that remains full year round (fat chance).

Yes there is an airport here but I doubt it services any Air Liners. More like Piper cubs and those sorts. Occasionally we can here a B-1 Fly over but thats about it LOL.

If you have any further questions you can email me directly at TheStoneDoor@aol.com and I will be happy to answer any of your questions about this area up here in No mans forgotten Land LOL.

Dave
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Old 10-20-2007, 04:18 AM
 
415 posts, read 626,151 times
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Oh I forgot to mention (this may be pertinent to the homestead questions) that most of the ranchers up here are only on the ranch during non winter months, During the winter months they live in town. Most Roads in and out of the Homesteads and ranchers are two tire tracks, No Gravel No Grading, no Nothing. If your out there when the snow flies you could be very well trapped out there for days if not weeks.
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Old 10-24-2007, 09:47 AM
 
87 posts, read 210,815 times
Reputation: 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by SDHomesteader View Post
Well I currently Live in Buffalo and believe me, there isn't much here LOL.
Buffalo is the County Seat. They have a Very Very Good Education System here in buffalo, Services K-12 in the same School Building. Buffalo is around 300 people or so. Camp Crook is around 80 and 90% of them are all related LOL. Redig, Well Redig isn't really a town anymore. Edgar and His wife are the only ones that still live there and he runs the Post Office there at redig that services a few of the ranchers still out here.

Buffalo Has a Grocery Store, Library (very small), 2 Gas Stations, A post Office, a Hardware Store, a Flower shop, and the Courthouse. Jobs are NON Existant up here unless you are a rancher. Most Ranches up here consist of Thousands of Acres. There are no crops unless you consider Wheat Grass, Bromme Grass, or alfalfa or any other Forage Grass. If you Count Prickly Pear Cactus then yes there is a crop up here. Stock Ponds are Dry. Water Tables can be as deep as 5000 feet down for wells. There are many abandoned homesteads that are no longer lived in but still part of the Ranches. In December or January they plan to reopen the small health clinic up here under the Rapid City Regional Health system so we will luck out there and won't have long commutes to Rapid, Sturgis, Belle or other areas for medical care anymore.

Dave
Dave,

Does anyone live in Ladner or is it just a dot on the USGS map? Thanks.

Dan
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Old 10-29-2007, 09:11 AM
 
415 posts, read 626,151 times
Reputation: 662
I haven't been to Ladner but have driven by it to pick up some hay LOL. Not much there, pretty much a dot on the map. They did a Dinner there not too long ago and most of it is outlying ranchers I would say. Ladner is more like a cluster of outlying ranchers. They do have a lutheran church there though, thats about it.
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Old 10-30-2007, 07:32 PM
 
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
3,940 posts, read 9,682,133 times
Reputation: 2084
It's really weird, there is NOTHING north of Rapid City until the ARCTIC OCEAN!!!
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