Dixson accepts Judith Basin County Extension job

Special to the News-Argus

It’s hard to say who is happiest about the Judith Basin County Extension assistant’s job: Sheila Dixson (left), who recently was hired for the job, or Katie Hatlelid, who has been advertising for it.

Photo by Vicky McCray

Many Judith Basin County residents are used to seeing Sheila Dixson at the Farm Service Agency in Stanford, but she isn’t there any more. Her job as a program technician, which was a temporary position, has ended.

“It was a three-month job that lasted for 2 1/2 years,” Dixson said, “and I absolutely loved it. I got to meet so many people and really learned a lot.”

She found out the job was ending three days before it did.

Dixson wasn’t out of work for too long, however. She can now be found a short block from her former employer, up the courthouse walk and down a flight of steps. She has taken on the position of administrative assistant to Judith Basin County Extension Agent Katie Hatlelid. 

Hatlelid has been advertising the position since July when Meredith Phillipe took a job with the Stanford School District. Hatlelid told the Press on Thursday that Dixson took the job because she had been “pestering” her to take it.

“It’s a pretty good fit,” Dixson said. “I know some of the ag stuff and some of the ag people and from the school I know some of the kids and those families.”

She said it was a fairly easy job to walk into.

“Katie has things laid out pretty well and Meredith had things laid out pretty well also,” Dixson said, “but we haven’t started getting ready for the fair yet.”

Dixson did admit livestock weigh-in is beginning.

“[Getting ready for the fair] pretty much starts September 1,” Hatlelid added. “We’re almost always working on the fair.”

Dixson was a 4-H’er herself, involved in sewing.

“I really loved the social aspect of it,” she said.

Dixson will be in the office three days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. These days will be flexible depending on what Hatlelid is doing and whether or not she is able to be in the office herself. The women are going to try to have someone in the office five days a week. 

When asked what she is looking forward to most in her new job, Dixson said, “the people.

“I think when people come down here, they’re really excited about what they’re doing or they want some answers,” she added.

And Dixson said she can handle both of these things.

Hatlelid asked if she was happy to have her new assistant and she answered with a resounding, “Absolutely! I’m tickled to have someone in here again.

“It was getting kind of lonesome around here,” she added.

When asked how things were going so far, Dixson said, “So far, so good. There’s an avenue to all of the information.”

The only change Dixson has made in the office is opening the curtains to let the sun in. She is an eastern Montana girl and appreciates and cherishes a sunny day.

“I was 30 [probably younger] before I realized there were places in Montana where the sun didn’t shine all of the time,” Dixson said.

She was raised at Terry, the county seat and the only incorporated town in Prairie County. Terry was the home of historic photographer Evelyn Cameron.

Sheila and her husband, Nick, have two children and seven grandchildren. 

They bought a house in Stanford in 2004 and Sheila got a job as a special education aid at Stanford School

“We’re loving JB County!” Sheila said.

A couple of years ago the Dixsons moved to Geyser. Nick is fully retired now, but Sheila is still too young to retire. Her new job will hopefully take her to retirement.



Where is your favorite place to go camping in Central Montana?