In Wyoming, agriculture contributes about $2 billion in cash receipts every year, making it one of the state’s top three industries after minerals and tourism. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 11,000 farms produce commodities across Wyoming’s 30 million acres of farmland. The state also has the largest average farm size in the country at 2,649 acres.
When you think of Wyoming agriculture, cattle and cowboys probably come to mind. And while cattle production does lead as No. 1 in Wyoming commodities, the state also grows several crops that ship across the country. Check out six of the top crops growing in the Cowboy State:
Thanks to the state’s fertile river bottoms, Wyoming produces excellent sugar beets, ranking No. 9 in the country in sugar beet production. According to USDA’s 2017 Census of Agriculture, sugar beets bring in about $48 million annually to Wyoming’s economy.
A member of the grass family, barley is commonly used for stock feed and as a main ingredient in the beer brewing process. Wyoming ranks No. 5 in the nation in barley production, producing about $40 million annually.
Dryland winter wheat grows mostly in the High Plains region of the state and contributes a production value of $18 million annually for Wyoming. After harvest, farmers usually mill their wheat into flour, which is then used to make bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, cakes and more.
Wyoming ranks No. 10 in the U.S. in dry bean production, which contributes about $21 million to the state’s economy each year. Beans primarily grow in the Big Horn Basin region of the state where low humidity levels create ideal growing conditions.
Among Wyoming’s top crops, corn brings the state about $30 million annually. In 2017, Wyoming farms harvested about 63,000 acres of corn for grain and about 30,000 acres of corn silage used for feeding animals.
After cattle and calves, hay comes in at No 2. on Wyoming’s top commodity list. It contributes an impressive $137 million annually to the state’s economy. Known for its high protein content, leafiness, and top-quality feed value, Wyoming hay ships across the U.S. and to other parts of the world for use as livestock feed.