Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland but there is more produced and processed in our state than just milk and cheese. Wisconsin ranks first in the nation for: snap beans for processing, cheese, cranberries, ginseng, mink pelts, dry whey for humans, milk goats and corn for silage.
Wisconsin agriculture is a big economic driver contributing $104.8 billion annually to our state’s economy.
- Food processing activity contributes $82.7 billion to industrial sales.
- The state is home to 64,793 farms on 14.3 million acres. The average farm size in Wisconsin is 221 acres.
Wisconsin agriculture provides jobs.
- Annually, 435,700 jobs or 11.8% of the state’s employment.
- On-farm production contributes 154,000 jobs.
- Processing contributes 282,000 jobs.
Wisconsin is one of the top states in the production of the major processing vegetables.
- In 2018, Wisconsin grew 6.58 million cwt of snap beans, 1.71 million cwt of carrots, 612,000 cwt of cucumbers and 978,600 cwt of green peas.
- The state ranks third in the nation in potato production, harvesting potatoes on 68,000 acres in 2019.
The state is known for its fruit production, including its state fruit – the cranberry.
- Wisconsin cranberry production for 2018 totaled 5.55 million barrels. Growers harvested 20,600 acres. Wisconsin produces 62 percent of the nation's crop making us the top cranberry producing state in the country.
- The state also produces a large tart cherry crop, producing 10.9 million pounds in 2018.
- Wisconsin boasts many apple orchards producing 49.0 million pounds of apples in 2018.
Wisconsin is home to more than 7,000 dairy farms, more than any other state, and 1.28 million cows.
- The dairy industry itself contributes $45.6 billion to Wisconsin’s economy each year.
- The feed mills, dairy equipment manufacturers and technicians, veterinarians, construction companies, genetics companies, milk haulers, dairy plants, dairy software companies - create a wave of economic impact that rolls across the entire state.
Wisconsin is #1 in cheese.
- Our state’s nearly 1,200 licensed cheesemakers produce over 600 types, styles and varieties of cheese – nearly double the number of any other state.
- Wisconsin cheesemakers make 26% of the nation’s cheese, producing 3.42 billion pounds in 2018.
- Wisconsin leads the nation in the production of 803 million pounds of specialty cheeses, including but not limited to asiago, gorgonzola, gruyere, aged cheddar, gouda, and limburger.
Wisconsin exported $3.5 billion of agricultural products in 2018 to 143 countries.
- Wisconsin ranks 12th among all states in the nation for the value of agricultural exports.
- The state's top agricultural export markets include Canada, China and Mexico.
- Miscellaneous food items (ingredients, sauces, yeasts, mustards) were Wisconsin's most valuable agricultural export category in 2018.
- Wisconsin leads the nation in the export of bovine semen, ginseng roots, and prepared/preserved cranberries and sweet corn.
(Updated January 13, 2020)