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Jefferson County was established on December 12, 1914 out of land that once belonged to Crook County. The county was named after Mt. Jefferson, located in the Cascade Mountain Range, which is the second highest peak in Oregon reaching an elevation of 10,497 feet. Jefferson County encompasses 1791 square miles. Madras, which is named after the city in India, serves as the county seat. Other cities in Jefferson County include Culver and Metolius and also the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.
Agriculture is the predominant source of income for Jefferson County, with farmers growing vegetable seed crops, wheat, garlic, mint, potatoes and a variety of others on over 60,000 acres of irrigated land. The county owes much of its agricultural success to the arrival of the railroad in 1911, which links Madras with the Columbia River. Also contributing to the agricultural prosperity of Madras was the development of water projects in the 1930’s and ultimately the creation of the North Unit Irrigation District, which supplies farmers with water. Jefferson County also has a large amount of rangelands and an industrial base in forest products. In addition, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs owns a multimillion dollar complex in the forest products industry.
Jefferson County boasts over 300 days of sunshine and low yearly rainfall, attracting people all over for fishing, hiking, camping, hunting, boating, rock climbing and many other outdoor activities.