A farm in Marquette County
A farm in Marquette County

Agriculture is a significant sector in Wisconsin's economy, producing nearly $104 billion in revenue annually.[1] The significance of the state's agricultural production is exemplified by the depiction of a Holstein cow, an ear of corn, and a wheel of cheese on Wisconsin's state quarter design.[2] In 2017 there were 64,800 farms in the state, operating across 14.3 million acres of land.[3]

Overview

The climate and topography of Wisconsin is favorable to both arable crops and livestock grazing. Wisconsin's soil was ground up over thousand of years during the Wisconsin glaciation, creating soil that is good for crops.[4][5] The state has a short growing season, but lacks much of the natural disasters that threaten crops. Wisconsin's winters allow cool weather crops to be grown, including potatoes and cranberries. Corn and soybeans, warm weather crops, can still grow well during the summers. The rain in the north and west ranges from 30 inches (760 mm) to 34 inches (860 mm), and drops to 28 inches (710 mm) in the area around Lake Superior.[6]

Leading products

Wisconsin leads the United States in the production of corn for silage, cranberries,[7] ginseng,[8] and snap beans for processing.[1] The state grows more than half the national crop of cranberries,[7] and 97% of the nation's ginseng.[8] Wisconsin is also a leading producer of oats, potatoes, carrots, tart cherries, maple syrup, and sweet corn for processing.[9]

Dairy

Main article: Wisconsin dairy industry

Dairy farm in Wisconsin
Dairy farm in Wisconsin

Wisconsin produces about a quarter of America's cheese, leading the nation in cheese production.[10][11] It is second in milk production, after California,[12] and third in per-capita milk production, behind California and Vermont.[13] Wisconsin is second in butter production, producing about one-quarter of the nation's butter.[14]

Cranberries

Wisconsin produces 60% of America's cranberries. In 2016, the state grew 6.13 million barrels of cranberries from over 20,000 acres of cranberry fields.[15]

History

The indigenous people of Wisconsin farmed a variety of vegetables and maize. The Oneota were the first people to farm intensively, around the Mississippi River.[16][17] In year 1000, the Oneota, much like other Native Americans, were farming the Three Sisters—maize, beans, and squash.[18] Aztalan State Park is the location of one of the farming towns built at this time. In the 1600s, prior to the arrival of Europeans, the population reached approximately 100,000.[19]

Wisconsin was a frontier to many people in the Northeastern states—offering lots of fresh land for cheap. In the mid-19th century, Wisconsin's population increased from 11,683 in 1836, to 210,546 in 1848, many of whom were farmers. Prior to this influx of settlers, farms in Wisconsin mainly produced wheat.[20] At this time, Wisconsin was producing about a sixth of the wheat grown in the country. However, this production could not last, and due to the worsening of soil, and chinch bugs, Wisconsin wheat farmers abandoned the crop and turned to raising dairy cattle and growing feed crops.[21]

In the northern region of the state, farmers grew cranberries. Cranberries are well suited to Wisconsin—not needing hot temperatures, growing in marshlands, and resistant to the extreme cold. Cranberries need little care, and are easy to grow.[22]

The settlers brought their knowledge of the dairy industry with them, realizing the potential of Wisconsin as good farmland. Many of these settlers were from New York, which was the highest producer of dairy products at the time. Additionally, cheesemaking was brought to Wisconsin by the numerous European immigrants at this time.[23]

In the second half of the 19th century, commercial fruit production began in Door County, Wisconsin.[24]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "DATCP Home Wisconsin Agricultural Statistics". datcp.wi.gov. Retrieved 2021-05-20.
  2. ^ Walters, Steven. "Doyle flips decision, puts cow on quarter". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on March 21, 2007. Retrieved March 30, 2007.
  3. ^ "2017 Census of Agriculture" (PDF). United States Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. Retrieved May 24, 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  4. ^ Apps (2015), p. 7
  5. ^ Gard (1978), p. 1
  6. ^ Apps (2015), p. 15
  7. ^ a b U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wisconsin Ag News—Cranberries Archived October 13, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, June 27, 2017, p. 1.
  8. ^ a b United States Department of Agriculture. 2012 Census of Agriculture: United States Summary and State Data, Vol. 1 Archived December 6, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. Washington, DC: 2014, pp. 475-476.
  9. ^ "Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection". NASDA. Retrieved 2021-12-22.
  10. ^ "Total Cheese Production Excluding Cottage Cheese—States and United States: February 2010 and 2011" in United States Department of Agriculture, Dairy Products Archived January 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, p. 13.
  11. ^ "American Cheese Production—States and United States: February 2010 and 2011" in United States Department of Agriculture, Dairy Products Archived January 13, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, p. 14.
  12. ^ "Milk Cows and Production—23 Selected States: March 2011 and 2012" in United States Department of Agriculture, Milk Production[permanent dead link], p. 3.
  13. ^ "Table 6: Per Capita Milk Production by State, 2003" in CITEC, The Dairy Industry in the U.S. and Northern New York Archived April 26, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, p. 25.
  14. ^ Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, Wisconsin's Rank in the Nations's Dairy Industry: 2007
  15. ^ U.S. Department of Agriculture, Wisconsin Ag News—Cranberries Archived October 13, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, June 27, 2017, p. 1.
  16. ^ Gallagher, James P.; Boszhardt, Robert F.; Sasso, Robert F.; Stevenson, Katherine (July 1985). "Oneota Ridged Field Agriculture in Southwestern Wisconsin". American Antiquity. 50 (3): 605–612. doi:10.2307/280324. ISSN 0002-7316.
  17. ^ "Agriculture in Wisconsin". Wisconsin Historical Society. 2012-08-03. Retrieved 2021-05-24.
  18. ^ Spoolman, Scott (2018-04-12). Wisconsin State Parks: Extraordinary Stories of Geology and Natural History. Wisconsin Historical Society. ISBN 978-0-87020-850-8. Archived from the original on 2021-10-14. Retrieved 2020-10-29.
  19. ^ Apps (2015), p. 18
  20. ^ Schafer, Joseph (1922). A history of agriculture in Wisconsin. p. 84.
  21. ^ "Farming and Rural Life | Turning Points in Wisconsin History". www.wisconsinhistory.org. Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved 2021-10-21.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  22. ^ "Cranberries, A Description of Great Marshes". Commercial Times. Tomah, Wisconsin. 9 April 1875. Retrieved 21 October 2021.
  23. ^ Apps (2015)
  24. ^ Cain, Cortney (May 2006). "Chapter 4, Door County Apple Horticulture". The Development of Apple Horticulture in Wisconsin, 1850s-1950s: Case Studies of Bayfield, Crawford, and Door Counties (M.A. thesis). UW-Madison. Retrieved September 15, 2019.

Sources