This high plains agricultural county carved from Weld County in 1887 is bisected by the South Platte River and the riverside trail that brought the first settlers in the 1860s. The river and extensive irrigation systems have made this one of the richest agricultural counties in Colorado, notable for its production of live-stock, hay, corn, and wheat.
Logan County boasts the largest city in northeastern Colorado, the county seat of Sterling, which has a population of some 10,000. Otherwise the county is sparsely settled with small towns, farms, and ranches. The town of Iliff commemorates Colorado's cattle king, John Wesley Iliff, whose immense ranch occupied much of the northwest bank of the South Platte.
Since the 1950s numerous oil and natural gas fields have been discovered and tapped here, in the heart of the Julesburg-Denver Basin. Oil derricks have compromised the bucolic landscape, but the leases have sustained many a farmer and rancher while live-stock and farm prices fell. The sugar beet industry, once in the lead, has soured with the closing of the Great Western refinery at Sterling. Cattle raising, with a large meat processing plant in Sterling, remains a mainstay.
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