Weld County leads the state in the production of sugar beets, grains, beef and cattle. The county is also a leader in the production of dry beans, potatoes, poultry and eggs, milk and other dairy products. In fact, agriculture is so important in the county that the Weld County Code includes a specific Right to Farm Statement.
Another important industry in the county is the energy industry. Oil and gas activity has occurred for decades in Weld County, which is located in the Denver—Julesburg Basin and sits above the Wattenberg Field.
The discovery in 1970 of the Wattenberg Field, which extends from southern Wyoming and the Nebraska panhandle down along much of the Colorado Front Range, initiated the first true oil boom in Weld County. Oil and gas production within the county continued at a steady pace for several decades. Then, in 2009, a horizontally drilled well (called the Jake well) surprised the oil industry by producing 50,000 barrels of oil in 90 days.
Horizontal drilling has brought new life to the energy industry in Weld County, and today, Weld has more oil and gas wells than any other county in the state, approximately 20,000. The positive economic impact oil and gas has had on the county has been tremendous. Schools, fire districts, libraries as well as county and municipal governments all benefit from this recent oil boom.
For example, the 2011 tax payment to the county by just one oil and gas producer was $52 million, of which 41 percent of that payment went to the county’s school districts, 9.11 percent went to special districts such as libraries and 8.51 percent went to Fire Districts within the county.
Other benefits of the boom: Weld County has no long-term or short-term debt, no county sales tax, a low mill levy compared to neighboring counties, and is able to pay for long-term projects with cash. In fact, starting in 2011, the Weld County Board of Commissioners began setting aside $8 million for county road maintenance, $23 million for improvements to Weld County Road 49, $40 million for future expansion of the Weld County Jail and $4 million for construction of the North Colorado Regional Crime lab.
In addition to agriculture and energy, Weld County is also home to thriving businesses – large and small. County government has a proven track record of working with business and industry; not creating obstacles. Major employers in the area include: JBS USA, Leprino Foods, Aurora Organic Dairy, Anadarko Petroleum, Noble Energy, Halliburton Energy Services, Vestas Blades, Banner Health, Carestream Colorado and State Farm Insurance.
Agritourism is also abundant throughout Weld County. Farmer’s Markets and local produce stands can be found in many Weld County towns throughout the summer while pumpkin patches and intricate corn mazes provide hours of fun during the fall.