Agricultural Emergencies & Disasters
Economic Impact of Wisconsin Agriculture
The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection (DATCP) works closely with the National Agricultural Statistics Service, a branch of the USDA, to provide timely, accurate, and useful statistics in service to U.S. agriculture. The NASS Wisconsin Field Office provides the most up-to-date statistics about Wisconsin agriculture at both the state and county level.
Wisconsin citizens are proud of our state’s strong agricultural heritage and understand the significant impact it has on the overall economic and physical health of our country. DATCP is committed to ensuring the safety and quality of the State’s agricultural systems. However, in order for DATCP to effectively prepare for or respond to an agricultural emergency, it must understand the components, processes, and stages which define our food system. Characterizing WI's Food Systems from Production to Consumption: A Reference Document is the result of a DATCP initiative to document Wisconsin’s agricultural system along the continuum of farm to fork.
Listed below are a few highlights from the 2012 Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics Bulletin and Characterizing WI’s Food Systems from Production to Consumption: A Reference Document. Please refer directly to these documents for a more comprehensive description of the Wisconsin’s agricultural system.
- Wisconsin is home to more than 11,000 dairy herds and 1.27 million dairy cows.
- 26.1 billion pounds of milk are produced annually.
- Wisconsin is first in national cheese production owning 25% of the market share.
- 2.6 billion pounds of cheese are produced annually.
- 90% of Wisconsin’s milk is used for cheese production.
- Ten pounds of milk are required to make one pound of cheese.
- More than 90% of our cheese is marketed outside of the state.
- 600 varieties of cheese are produced in Wisconsin, more than any other state or nation.
- Wisconsin produces 586 million pounds of specialty cheeses annually.
- Meat processing is 4th largest manufacturing industry in Wisconsin.
- Meat processing generates more than $12.3 billion in economic activity annually.
- 450 Meat Processing Plants exist in Wisconsin.
- 14,800 beef producers and 270,000 cattle exist in Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin imports cattle from 33 states; 200 truckloads/day; 36 cattle/truck.
- 1.7 million head are processed in Wisconsin annually.
- 2.3 billion pounds are processed for market in Wisconsin annually.
- Wisconsin ranks 18th nationally in pork production with 536,000 pigs processed in-state.
- Most pork is processed out of state; 881,000 pigs left Wisconsin in 2006.
- 2300 pork operations exist in Wisconsin with most located in southern 1/3 of the state.
- Wisconsin ranks first for number of milking goats.
- 44,000 milking goats and 31,000 meat goats are produced in Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin ranks 8th for number of farms with sheep.
- Wisconsin ranks 14th for number of sheep harvested.
- 16,000 sheep and/or lamb are processed in Wisconsin.
- Most sheep are sold live for out-of-state processing.
Turkey and Chickens
- Wisconsin is home to the nation’s second largest turkey producer.
- 46.5 million broiler chickens are produced each year in Wisconsin.
- Wisconsin egg production generates $86.1 million annually.
- Commercial operations house anywhere from 20,000 to more than 1 million birds per farm.
- The largest operations are located in southern 1/3 of state.
- Wisconsin is second in the nation for harvesting acreage, total production and value of production of the major processing vegetables.
- Wisconsin ranks first in the nation for snap beans for processing, second in the nation for green peas and carrots for processing, third in the nation for sweet corn for processing and fifth in the nation for cucumbers for pickles.
- Wisconsin ranks third in nation for potato production.
- 50% of the annual potato crop is sold through fresh market; 20% is used for the chip industry; and 30% are processed.
- Wisconsin ranks first in cranberry production, supplying approximately 60% of nation’s crop.
- Wisconsin cranberry production generates about $300 million annually.
- In 2011, 4.41 million barrels of fruit a produced annually (1 barrel = 100 lbs berries).
- Cranberry operations are located in upper 2/3 of the state across 19 counties (18,000 acres).
- 95% of the annual cranberry crop is processed; 3%-5% sold as fresh fruit.