Agriculture is the economic backbone of Owyhee County and represents 26.1 percent of the total employment, with total sales of $127 million. Nearly two‐thirds of the total agriculture sales are derived from livestock operations. Other areas of employment do exist and are important to the economy. However, agriculture is the single largest contributor.


Beef production in Owyhee County has a long history beginning in the early mining days with cattle that were trailed north from Texas. There are approximately 21,000 dairy cows, 30,800 beef cows, and 84,800 other cattle (feeders, replacement heifers, etc.) currently in Owyhee County.

The beef industry plays an important socio‐economic role in the county. Ranching families are the backbone of rural towns and communities. The Owyhee Cattlemen’s Association was formed in 1878 and still exists today for the purposes of working together to promote the beef industry, tackle common problems, and to protect ranchers’ private property rights.


A major portion of Owyhee County, Idaho’s second largest county, is rangeland. Owyhee County is comprised of a significant amount of public lands, with 75.8 percent federally owned (BLM) and 6.7 percent state owned. Only 17.5 percent of the total land area is in private ownership. Most of the federal and state lands are rangelands, and are used for livestock grazing by private landowners who hold grazing permits. The use of these lands is vital to the ranchers who utilize them.


Important Links


Lost Rivers Grazing Academy
September 12-15, 2017
Salmon, Idaho


Scott Jensen,
UI Extension Educator

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 400
Marsing, ID 83639

238 Eighth Avenue West
Marsing, ID 83639

Phone: 208-896-4104

Fax: 208-896-4105