Montana farmers grow and raise a wide variety of agricultural commodities. Take a look at some of the leading products found across Big Sky Country.
1. Cattle and Calves
There are 2.6 million head of beef cattle in Montana, which means there are about three cows for every human in the state. Montana is sixth in the U.S. for total number of beef cattle. Cattle and calves brought the state $1.4 billion in annual cash receipts.
Wheat is grown in nearly every county in Montana on more than 8,950 wheat farms. Montana’s largest grain-producing region is the north-central part of the state called the “Triangle Area.” Wheat generated $875.8 million in annual cash receipts.
Montana growers planted 1.8 million acres of alfalfa hay in 2016 and harvested 3.6 million tons of the crop the same year. Hay brought in $330.1 million in annual cash receipts.
In 2016, 1 million acres of barley were planted in Montana, and growers averaged 57 bushels per acre, with a total value of $270 million. Barley generated $219.8 million in annual cash receipts.
Montana is the No. 1 lentil producer in the nation, with growers across the state harvesting 505,000 acres of the crop in 2016. Lentils brought the state $204.2 million in annual cash receipts.
6. Dry Peas
Montana is one of the top dry-pea producers in the U.S., with the state’s growers harvesting 580,000 acres of the crop in 2016. In addition, Montana growers harvested 7,000 acres of Australian winter peas in 2016. Dry peas brought in $120.5 million in annual cash receipts.
7. Sugar Beets
Most of Montana’s sugar beets are grown in the south-central of the state. In 2016, Montana growers harvested 45,300 acres of sugar beets, which resulted in more than 1.6 million tons.Sugar beets generated $73.8 million in annual cash receipts.
Montana is No. 2 in the U.S. for chickpea production. In 2016, farmers produced 1.532 million cwt, or 28.1 percent of the U.S. total. Chickpeas brought the state $46.7 million in annual cash receipts.
In 2016, Montana growers harvested 11,000 acres of potatoes, which resulted in a production value of $46.8 million. Potatoes rst appeared in Montana in 1841, and were grown in the Bitteroot Valley at St. Mary’s Mission by Father DeSmet. Brought in $41.5 million in annual cash receipts
Montana is a major producer of oilseeds, which includes flaxseed, safflower and canola. The state ranks second in the nation for flaxseed and safflower production, and third for canola production. Oilseeds brought the state $25.8 million in annual cash receipts.