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56 Counties: Richland County

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courtesy Dax Schieffer, Sarah Degn Rachor
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Dax Schieffer (left), Sarah Degn Rachor

Richland County has gotten more attention in the past ten years than perhaps any other county in Montana due to the Bakken Oil Boom, which brought thousands of people into our state looking for jobs or other opportunities to capitalize on a sudden surge in production in Western North Dakota and Northeastern Montana. The influx of new Montanans brought with it the usual challenges of a boom-and-bust economy as Richland County had to find ways to bolster its infrastructure and give long-time residents a reason to stay as prices and crime rates escalated in the county.

The boom has leveled out some in the past couple of years, leaving Richland County with a new look but also the opportunity for long-time residents to reflect back on many of the values that were important before the boom.

Sarah Degn Rachor (pronounced Rocker) is a fourth-generation farmer near Sidney, Montana, though it was a long journey back to the family farm. She moved to Wyoming, Oregon, and Tennessee, worked as a wedding photographer for 15 years, before finally making her way back to the farm. She is happily learning all the things she didn’t know about full time farming, playing in the mud with her 11-year-old daughter and her parents.

Dax Schieffer provides services in non-profit management, economic development, and education for several Montana organizations. Schieffer serves as the Executive Director of the Montana Council on Economic Education, improving economic and financial literacy for Montana’s youth. In addition, he is the director of Voices of Montana Tourism, a non-profit advocacy group providing education and outreach to improve Montana’s visitor economy and main street businesses. Schieffer also serves as administrator for Montana Ambassadors in partnership with the Montana Department of Commerce sharing the passion to live and do business in Montana.

In 2010 Schieffer was awarded the Montana Governor’s Ready Award from the Governor’s Office of Community Involvement.For 10 years Dax served on the Big Sky Fire Department as a Firefighter and EMT, obtaining recognition as the firefighter of the year in 2010. Schieffer resides in Helena, Montana with his wife Chantel and son Dax who attends elementary school.

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