Wisconsin’s agricultural strength is visible every day, not only on a national and international level, but also within the state itself where suppliers contribute to a tight infrastructure, providing resources, products, equipment and more for the ag industry.
“For a long, long time, some of these companies started with a unique idea, perhaps from a farmer himself, and they have continued to keep up with needs of the current farming practices,” says Ben Brancel, Wisconsin’s Secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
Brancel says Wisconsin-based companies produce everything from feed buckets to harvesters, noting that the state “covers everything from genetics to fuel.”
Consider these companies that call Wisconsin home: Internationally known agricultural equipment manufacturer Case IH, mostly recognized for its bright-red tractors, is headquartered in Racine, Wisconsin. Boumatic LLC builds milking stations and other dairy equipment that are used by farmers and dairy businesses worldwide. Renk Seed, a family-owned seed company, operates in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.
Cranberry harvesting equipment that’s used both at home and in other states is all manufactured in Wisconsin.
These represent just a small sampling of the many agribusinesses that call Wisconsin home and provide jobs for many of the state’s residents.
With more than 10,500 dairy farms, livestock is a key part of the state’s economy. Wisconsin dairies produce 25 percent of the total U.S. cheese production.
Al Schultz, vice president of technical services for Vita Plus, gives a supplier’s view of the industry. Headquartered in Madison and founded in 1948, Vita Plus is a feed company that provides expert nutrition and management information to livestock operations.
“The agriculture industry in Wisconsin is a $59 billion economy with dairy still leading the way at $26.5 billion,” says Schultz.
Additionally, Schultz points out other factors essential to support the state of agricultural health.
“We have adequate water supplies and a great work ethic in our labor force. We have processing plants and the infrastructure to serve the industry.”
Combined with a strong university system, access to new technologies and farm ownership, the agricultural industry benefits from an extensive infrastructure with a deep history.
In the end, not only do Wisconsin producers enjoy great accessibility, but the Wisconsin products reach across the country and even overseas.
“In our feed industry, we’re providing feed for livestock producers located all over. We market locally and internationally,” Brancel says.
At Vita Plus, the company works both locally and internationally to source ingredients, recognizing the food industry stretches across the globe and food safety remains a paramount concern to consumers.
Schultz is optimistic about the state’s future in providing the infrastructure, equipment and other supplies necessary for the agriculture industry.
He says, “Suppliers, producers and everyone in the chain work closely together. We’re alive and well.”
Brancel couldn’t agree more.
“No matter how simple or complex, we have the resources in state that can produce, provide or meet any need,” Brancel says.