Study: Ag industry has grown despite recession and drought
Maureen McCollum, Wisconsin Public Radio Wisconsin's agriculture industry continues to grow and create more jobs, according to a report released on Friday. In 2012, Wisconsin's agricultural sector generated more than $88 billion dollars, a figure...
Maureen McCollum, Wisconsin Public Radio
Wisconsin’s agriculture industry continues to grow and create more jobs, according to a report released on Friday.
In 2012, Wisconsin’s agricultural sector generated more than $88 billion dollars, a figure which encompasses everything from corn sales to tractor repairs to veterinary services. The total is a $29 billion dollar increase from 2007.
University of Wisconsin agricultural and applied economics professor Steven Deller compiled the report from U.S. Department of Agriculture data. He said the industry grew despite the drought of 2012 and the recession. In fact, Deller said, the ag industry was a stabilizing force during the recession.
He said food processing, like cheese making, beer brewing, and meat processing, generated more money than on-farm activity.
“We really need to be looking at how food processing and farm production (are) linked and how a lot of the growth in farm production is really coming from the ability of food processors to really expand their markets,” said Deller.
The report found that Wisconsin’s ag industry supports about 413,000 jobs, and increase of more than 16 percent from 2007. The highest numbers are found in the east central part of the state at processing facilities. But, the highest percentage of people working in agriculture are in the southwest.
Though other industries remain more dominant in the state, Deller said agriculture is thriving.
“You look at a Packers game, what are people wearing? They’re wearing cheeseheads,” he said. “It’s part of who we are and it’s an important part of our culture and an important part of our economy.”
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