Wisconsin – America’s Dairyland. Whether it is the cheese heads our fans wear to cheer on the Green Bay Packers, our notoriety for award-winning cheeses, or the 1.2 million dairy cows that dot our landscape, Wisconsin is most often referred to as a dairy state. It’s even on our license plates! However, what many don’t realize is the diversity of agricultural products grown or produced within our state’s borders. And, it is this diversity that makes agriculture Wisconsin’s leading industry.
America’s Dairyland leads the nation in cranberry production
Yes, Wisconsin leads the nation in the production of cheese and dry whey (a by-product of cheese production). But, did you know that Wisconsin ranks first in six other products as well? America’s Dairyland leads the nation in cranberries, cabbage for sauerkraut, snap beans, dairy goats, mink pelts and corn for silage – that’s what we feed those dairy cows.
What is even more impressive is the diversity of food produced here and the number of agricultural products where Wisconsin ranks in the top five for national production. We all know that carrots help you see in the dark, but did you know that Wisconsin is the nation’s second largest producer of them? That is not the only vegetable Wisconsin produces. Our state ranks third in the production of green beans and sweet corn for processing (aka canning), as well as American’s favorite vegetable – potatoes!
Wisconsin is the largest producer of potatoes east of the Mississippi
Let’s take potatoes as an example. Most Wisconsinites don’t realize that we are the largest producer of potatoes east of the Mississippi, and rank only behind Idaho and Washington State for overall production. Not only does Wisconsin produce a variety of different crops, but also we produce multiple types and varieties of each crop. When it comes to potatoes, we grow Yellow Flesh, Round Red, Round White, Blue, Purple, and Russet.
Besides vegetables, don’t forget about the delicious maple syrup, cherries, honey, and strawberries that come from Wisconsin. So, the next time you go to the grocery store, look in your cart and think about all the foods that come from Wisconsin. And, when you go to brush your teeth tonight, the mint in your toothpaste might have originally called Wisconsin its home.