Texas Panhandle | Texas South Plains

Bailey County, Texas

Bailey County is located in the high plains of Texas. Land features sandy loam soils and mesquite brush. It drains to the upper watershed of the Brozos River. Local economy consists of farm supply manufacturing, electric generating plant and food-processing plants.

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Where is Bailey County, Texas?

  • Bailey County, in the western Panhandle, is bordered on the west by New Mexico, on the north by Parmer County, on the east by Lamb County, and on the south by Cochran County. The county center lies at 34°04' north latitude and 102°50' west longitude, about seventy-five miles northwest of Lubbock. Bailey County is a part of the Southern High Plains and has an altitude of 3,800 to 4,400 feet above mean sea level.
  • Its 835 square miles of plain are surfaced by sandy loam covered with grasses and mesquite brush. The Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River drains the northern parts of the county; other sections drain to numerous small playas. The most conspicuous topographic feature is a range of sand hills that runs from northeast to southwest a mile south of Muleshoe.
  • U.S. Highway 70/84 crosses the northeast part of the county. State highways 214 and 298 carry traffic north to south and east to west, respectively; in the early twenty-first century the area was also served by the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad.

Adjacent Counties

  • Parmer County (north)
  • Lamb County (east)
  • Cochran County (south)
  • Roosevelt County, New Mexico (west/Mountain Time Zone)
  • Curry County, New Mexico (northwest/Mountain Time Zone)

Sites and Attractions in Bailey County 

  • Muleshoe (population 5,078), the largest town in the county, hosts the Mule Days festival each August and the county fair every September. Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge is a major recreation site.

  • Muleshoe National Wildlife Refuge, the oldest national wildlife refuge in Texas, is located twenty miles south of Muleshoe on State Highway 214 in Bailey County. It was established by an executive order of October 24, 1935, and is administered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The refuge is a unit in the national system of refuges in the central flyway. It serves as a wintering area for migratory waterfowl and sandhill cranes. Three saline lakes, White, Goose, and Pauls, each divided into upper and lower, are located within the refuge.
  • Grulla National Wildlife Refuge is located primarily in eastern New Mexico in Roosevelt County, southwest of the intersection of State Highway 88 and the Texas - New Mexico border about 25 miles southeast of Portales, New Mexico and southeast of the tiny community of Arch.

Farming and Ranching in Bailey County 

  • The average annual rainfall is 17.29 inches. The average minimum temperature in January is 20° F; the average maximum in July is 92° F. The growing season of 181 days is shorter than the average for West Texas counties because of the higher elevation and cooler weather.
  •  In the early twenty-first century the manufacture of mufflers and farm supplies, an electrical generating plant, agriculture, and food processing plants were important elements of the local economy. In 2002 the county had 436 farms and ranches covering 303,574 acres. That year farmers and ranchers in the area earned $127,834,000; livestock sales accounted for $104,594,000 of the total. Feedlot cattle production, dairy cattle, cotton, wheat, sorghum, corn, and vegetables were the chief agricultural products.

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