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Montana Economy

Agriculture

In terms of revenue generated Montana's top five agricultural products are cattle and calves, wheat, barley, hay, and sugar beets.

Livestock

Beef cattle are Montana's most important livestock product. Some of the country's biggest cattle ranches are in Montana.

Dairy cattle, sheep and hogs are also raised.

Crops

About 1/3 of Montana's agricultural income is provided by crops. Wheat is the state's leading crop.

Barley and hay are important crops as are beans, potatoes and sugar beets.

The major fruit produced in Montana is the black cherry.

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Manufacturing

Manufacturers add value to raw products by creating manufactured items. For example, cotton cloth becomes more valuable than a boll of cotton through manufacturing processes.

Petroleum refineries are the major manufacturing activity in Montana.

Lumber and wood products (finish lumber, plywood, pencils, prefabricated houses, telephone poles) rank second followed by food products (meatpacking, milk processing, milling of grain, soft drink bottling)and machinery for the agriculture, construction and mining industries.

Mining

Coal and petroleum are Montana's leading mined products.

The state can also be an important source of gold, silver, copper and lead depending on the demand and labor availability.

Montana is the leading producer of talc.

Services

In Montana, it's the community, business and personal services sector (private health care, motels, law firms, and repair shops) that leads in services income.

Ranking second are wholesale (food products, mined products, motor vehicles) and retail (discount and grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants) trade and government services (operation of public schools and hospitals, military bases, Indian reservations).

Ranking third in the services industry are finance, insurance and real estate.

Sources

Harry W. Fritz and Katherine Hansen, "Montana," World Book Online Americas Edition, http://www.worldbookonline.com/wbol/wbPage/na/ar/co/368920, August 15, 2001.

U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Agricultural Statistics Service, "Montana State Agriculture Overview, 2004", 3 January 2006, <http://www.nass.usda.gov/Statistics_by_State/Ag_Overview/AgOverview_MT.pdf> (12 January 2006)

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