Wisconsin Farming 101

Farming in Wisconsin 

Wisconsin has amassed an impressive reputation in cheese production that has deservedly seen this state christened “America’s Dairyland.”

Few states across the United States can rival its dairy production. And it’s even harder to find a better cheese producer, which is why it is also known as “America’s cheese capital.”

Have you ever tried Wisconsin cheese?

Statics indicate that upwards of 26% of the entire cheese in the US can be traced back to the “Badger State.”

Over $43 billion of annual state revenue comes from dairy. That is according to the revelations of Wisconsin’s Milk Marketing board.

If you are interested in Wisconsin farming from a business perspective, or for the sheer fun of it, here are a couple of essential FAQs you’ll want to know the answers to:

1) What is the primary agricultural activity?

The United States ranks first in a compilation of the planet’s leading milk producers, bettering its trailing opponent India by close to 31 tons of milk. The national production is only about 91 tons. So it’s quite the statement that Wisconsin accounts for more than 30 tons of the domestic production.

That is roughly 1/3 coming from a single state.

That figure is only surpassed by one other state. California contributes approximately 40 tons. It, therefore, goes without saying that dairy farming is the agricultural heavyweight in Wisconsin.

2) What are the primary crops of Wisconsin?

The most popular crop by a country mile is corn, and that’s primarily because it shoulders the burden of feeding livestock in a state with more than 1.2 million cows across 9,500 dairy farms.

Beyond corn, cranberry is also quite popular, and it is, in fact, the official state fruit.

Wisconsin produces massive amounts of cranberries which make up more than half of the entire production in the US. The state is also among the country’s best when it comes to potato production as well. The land is also quite suitable for growing fruits such as plums, pears, grapes, and blueberries. 

Other crops or fruits synonymous with Wisconsin include soybeans, apples, carrots, green peas, snap beans, and cabbage.

Livestock farming, with the exception of dairy, is big business too. Chicken eggs result in the collection of significant state revenue, and hogs contribute income of more than $19 million annually.

Additionally, the state is a leading exporter of ginseng roots as well as sweet corn for human consumption. 

3) What is the average size and price of farms? 

Wisconsin has about 14.4 million acres split into more than 65,000 farms. Between its farms, the average size of a farm is approximately 220 acres. The price per unit acre was $4, 025 in 2017 with 2019 valuations placing the figure at about $100 more. That is slightly above the country’s average. 

4) What are the state’s leading agricultural commodities?

With a return of $5.4 billion, dairy products are the undoubted table toppers, with calves and cattle coming in a distant second at $1.8 billion.

Corn took third place in the 2018 standings, bringing in $1.4 billion while soybeans and potatoes rounded off the top five in that order with returns of $912.6 and $311.4 million respectively. 

Hay, cranberries, and broilers are also in the top ten.

There’s no doubt Wisconsin knows how to ring in the cheese when it comes to profitable farming.