A petition signed by more than 290 Barber County land occupiers was filed on March 7, 1949 with the State Soil Conservation Committee requesting the establishment of the Barber County Soil Conservation District. A public hearing was held at the District Court House on March 28, 1949 to determine the “desirability and necessity in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare of the creation of such district”. Of the 459 votes cast, a favorable tabulation of 404 votes for the creation of the district was recorded. The State Soil Conservation Commission appointed the district’s first two supervisors on May 3, 1949, followed by a county wide election on July 2, 1949, in which eligible voters elected the remaining three supervisors.
Barber County is located in the south-central part of Kansas and has a total area of 1,146 square miles, or 733,428 acres, making it the fifth largest county in the state. It is bordered by the State of Oklahoma on the south, Pratt County on the north, Harper and Kingman Counties on the east, and Comanche and Kiowa Counties on the west. Barber County is commonly known as the Redhills Section of the Southern Rolling Plains. Well known for its diversity, topography ranges from gently rolling in the east, to very rough and broken, with many deep canyons and sharp high hills in the west.
According to the 2000 Census, 5,307 people reside in Barber County, most of who live in Medicine Lodge and Kiowa. The remaining people make up the small rural communities of Sun City, Lake City, Isabel, Sharon, Hazelton, and Hardtner.
Ranching and farming are important enterprises in Barber County. Cropland claims 220,000 agricultural acres. Rangeland comprises 445,000 acres in the county, which is 65% of the land area. Barber County has the third highest number of rangeland acres in Kansas and the highest number of cows. Although primarily agricultural, oil and gas production are integrally effective in providing sustainability to our economy.