Dairy Powers Wisconsin’s Economy

The cows, fields and farms you see while driving through Wisconsin’s pristine countryside are not only a part of our landscape, heritage and culture, they play a huge role in sustaining and strengthening our communities. Recent economic studies show that no other single industry sector has a greater economic impact than agriculture and dairy. Family-owned farms, food processors and agriculture-related businesses generate thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity while contributing to local income and tax revenues. Here’s how important agriculture and dairy is to everyone in our state.

In Wisconsin
• Dairy generates $26.5 billion each year for our state's economy, provides employment in over 300 different careers and professions and accounts for more than 40 percent of the jobs in the agricultural sector. That’s nearly three times the amount of money that oranges contribute to Florida and ten times the amount that potatoes bring to Idaho.

• Each of our 1,263,000 dairy cows generates more than $21,000 a year in local economic activity. These dollars help support our local businesses, improve our roads, schools and colleges, provide jobs and grow our local economies.

• Besides the direct economic contribution of farms and dairy-related companies, the dairy industry also uses machinery, trucks, fuel, financial services and other goods and services from local companies and businesses, generating additional "non-dairy" jobs and income in the community.
In Marathon County:

• Fifty percent of the landmass is devoted to agriculture and dairy – over 490,000 acres. And 99.8 percent of these farming operations are family-owned businesses.

• The agriculture sector employs 15 percent of the county’s workforce, generates $2.4 billion in total business sales and contributes nearly $630 million to the county’s income.

• Dairy is a tremendous economic engine, with over 700 dairy farms and 18 dairy processing plants generating almost $1.8 billion in business sales each year while employing more than 9,300 people.
It’s important that all Wisconsin residents realize the critical role that our dairy infrastructure plays in the economic health of our communities, our counties and our state. Because of Wisconsin's diverse farming base, combined with agriculture's business and service contribution, the overall impact of farming touches everyone in our state. Even if you never set foot on a farm, you’re still connected to dairy in Wisconsin.

Sustaining Agri-Business in Marathon County

The Agribusiness resources offered through the Marathon County Development Corporation (McDEVCO) and other partners underscore the important role that agriculture and dairy plays in our economy. This partnership of public and private resources links investments in education and training with investments in economic development – all to sustain and support agriculture and dairy in the county and the region.
Working together, we all can boost our economy, sustain our natural resources and make Marathon County and Wisconsin a great place to live and work for generations to come.

To learn more about what dairy farmers all over Wisconsin are doing for our communities, visit www.DairyDoingMore.org.

To get more facts on Marathon County agriculture, visit http://www.uwex.edu/ces/ag/wisag/documents/agimpactbrochMarathonCoFINAL.pdf.

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