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 $88.3 billion annually to our state’s economy.
Sales from food processing industrial sales total $67.8 billion.
Using the industry sales multiplier, every dollar of agricultural activity yields an additional 79 cents of industrial sales elsewhere in Wisconsin’s economy.
The state is home to 68,500 farms on 14.3 million acres. The average farm size in Wisconsin is 209 acres.
Wisconsin agriculture provides jobs.
- Annually, 413,500 jobs or 11.9% of the state’s employment.
- On-farm production contributes 153,900 jobs.
- Processing contributes 259,600 jobs.
- Every job in agriculture supports an additional 1.46 jobs elsewhere in Wisconsin.
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
- The state ranks third in the nation in potato production harvesting potatoes on 71,000 acres in 2018.
The state is known for its fruit production, including its state fruit – the cranberry.
- Wisconsin cranberry production for 2018 totaled 5.5 million barrels. Growers harvested 20,600 acres. Wisconsin produces 64 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 10.2 million pounds in 2018.
- Wisconsin boasts many apple orchards producing 49.0 million pounds of apples in 2018.
Wisconsin is home to nearly 8,000 dairy farms, more than any other state, and 1.28 million cows.
- The dairy industry itself contributes $43.4 billion to Wisconsin’s economy each year.
- The dairy industry fuels the state's economy at more than $82,500 per minute.
- 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 27% of the nation’s cheese, producing 3.37 billion pounds in 2018.
- Wisconsin leads the nation in the production of 799 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.
- Miscellareous 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 March 22, 2019)