Brown County [†] is located in South Central Minnesota and is bordered by Nicollet, Blue Earth, Renville, Cottonwood, Watonwan and Redwood Counties. County population based on the 2000 census estimates is 26,911 with the County Seat, New Ulm, estimated at a population of 13,594. Countywide the population has declined by 0.3 percent while New Ulm has seen a +3.5 percent increase in the period since the 1990 census data.
Land use in Brown County is a contrasting mixture of urban/rural and industrial/agricultural. Approximately 72% of the residents live in cities with a population greater than 500. Industrial activities are present in each of the three highest populated cities; New Ulm, Sleepy Eye and Springfield. Brown County is agriculturally oriented with 335,000 acres or 85% of land use in crop production with corn and soybeans being the primary crops. Hogs are the primary livestock in the County.
There are three Major Watershed Basins associated with Brown County. The northern portion of the County lies primarily within the Middle Minnesota River watershed with the Little Cottonwood River Basin included. In this area the local drainage is north and east toward the Minnesota River which forms the northern border of Brown County. The central and western portions of the County lie primarily within the Cottonwood River Major Watershed. The Cottonwood River joins the Minnesota River south of the City of New Ulm. The south central portion of the County is drained by the Watonwan River Major Watershed with the Lake Hanska watershed being the main source for drainage to the south of the County.
† Brown County Comprehensive Water Plan: 2008-2018, www.gberba.org, accessed April, 2021.