Abandoned grain elevator on the BNSF rail road line crossing the semi-arid plains of Northern Montana. The area is too dry for an annual crop, so wheat is planted in every other year to save rain/snowfall for the subsequent crop. Most local farmers have now adopted a no-till “chem-fallow’ system, where they cut the wheat at harvest time and then in the fallow year spray the wheat stubble with paraquat to kill the weeds. The wheat stubble prevents soil loss from wind erosion.
This area has undergone extreme depopulation over the past century as mechanization has allowed farming on larger plots with less labor. This area was first populated with farmers under the Homestead act of 1909, which gage 320 aces for free if you farmed the land for five years. At that time there were 72 family homesteads per 36 sq mi, but now this same area has a populations of just 8 people.
Seen here is the old grain elevator at Acme that was once used for holding wagon loads of wheat before loading onto train for sale.
- ©2021 George Steinmetz
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