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Wisconsin Economy

Agriculture

Dairy farming provides the leading agricultural activity in Wisconsin.

In terms of revenue generated, Wisconsin's top five agricultural products are dairy products, beef cattle and calves, corn for grain, greenhouse and nursery products, and soybeans.

Livestock

Dairy products account for over 1/2 (54%) of Wisconsin's total agricultural receipts earning the state the #2 postition among the states behind California for the production of dairy products.

Though they can't match the economic power of dairy product, beef cattle and calves, hogs, broilers (young chickens), and chicken eggs are also major contributers to the state's agricultural economy.

Other livestock products produced in Wisconsin include honey, aquaculture, sheep and lambs, and turkeys.

Crops

Wisconsin's most important crop is corn for grain, most of which goes to feeding the state's livestock.

Greenhouse and nursery products, soybeans, potatoes, and cranberries are all important to Wisconsin's agricultural health. Wisconsin is a leading producer of potatoes and cranberries among the states. Wisconsin ranks #1 among the states in the production of cranberries.

Hay and oats are also grown in Wisconsin and, for the most part are, along with grain corn, offered as livestock feed. Sweet corn and tobacco are also grown in the state.

Apples and strawberries are the leading fruit crops.

Snap beans (#1 among the states), green peas, cabbage, and carrots are leading vegetables.

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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.

Machinery (engines and turbines, power cranes and other construction machinery, heating and cooling equipment and metalworking machinery)is Wisconsin's leading manufactured product.

Transportation equipment (motor vehicles, motor vehicle parts) ranks in second place.

Following transportation equipment, food products (butter, cheese, ice cream, evaporated and dried milk, meat-packing, canned fruits and vegetables, beer)form Wisconsin's third-ranked manufacturing activity. Wisconsin produces about 1/3 of the cheese made in the United States and is a leading butter-producing state. Beer is Wisconsin's most valuable processed beverage product.

Mining

Used in the construction industry, Wisconsin's most important mined products are sand and gravel and crushed stone.

Services

Community, business and personal services (private health care, law firms, hotels and resorts, repair shops) ranks as Wisconsin's number one service industry group.

Generating the second most income in the services industry are the wholesale and retail trade group and the finance, insurance and real estate group. Wholesale trade products include farm products, groceries and machinery. Important retail income sources are automobile dealerships, discount stores and food stores. Milwaukee is one of the Midwest's important financial centers, home to the two largest banking companies in Wisconsin and one of the biggest insurance companies in the United States.

Government services (operation of public schools and hospitals, military facilities, Indian reservations) comprise the third-ranked services group.

Sources

Benjamin D. Rhodes and Gary C. Meyer, "Wisconsin," World Book Online Americas Edition, http://www.worldbookonline.com/wbol/wbPage/na/ar/co/607320, August 15, 2001.

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

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