lmpact of Agriculture on Manitowoc County

-redbarnAgriculture works hard for Manitowoc County every day. Family-owned farms, food processors and agriculture-related businesses generate thousands of jobs and millions of dollars of economic activity while contributing to local income and tax revenues.

Manitowoc County is an agricultural powerhouse. The county is home to about 110,000 dairy cattle compared to approximately 81,000 people. Dairy farms of all sizes dot the rural landscape. Herd sized range from fewer than 20 cows to more than 5,000 cows per farm. Located along Lake Michigan, the cool summer temperatures are ideal for milk production. As a leading dairy producer, Manitowoc County routinely ranks in the top five Wisconsin counties and the top 25 U.S. counties in dairy production. It also ranks in the top five Wisconsin counties in corn silage, hay, and winter wheat production.

How important is agriculture?

  • Agriculture provides jobs for 5,105 Manitowoc County residents.
  • Agriculture accounts for $1.5 billion in economic activity.
  • Agriculture contributes $360 million to the county’s total income.
  • Agriculture pays $16.3 million in taxes. This figure does not include all property taxes paid to local schools.

Manitowoc County agriculture provides 5,105 jobs, or about 11.5 percent, of the county’s workforce of 44,370. Production jobs include farm owners and managers and farm employees. Agriculture service jobs include veterinarians, crop and livestock consultants, feed, fuel and other crop input suppliers, farm machinery dealers, barn builders and agricultural lenders, to name a few. Processing jobs include those employed in food processing and other value-added industries that support food processors. Every job in agriculture generates an additional 0.48 jobs in the county.

Manitowoc County agriculture accounts for $360.4 million, or 10 percent, of the county’s total income. This includes wages, salaries, benefits and profits of farmers and workers in agriculture-related businesses. Every dollar of agricultural income generates an additional $0.49 of county income.

Manitowoc County agriculture generates $1.5 billion in economic activity, about 17 percent, of the county’s total economic activity. Every dollar of sales from agricultural products generates an additional $0.16 of economic activity in other parts of the county’s economy.

How agriculture stimulates economic activity:

  • The direct effect of agriculture equals $1.3 billion and includes the sale of farm products and value-added products.
  • Purchases of agricultural and food-processing inputs, services and equipment add another $129 million in economic activity. For example, this includes business-to-business purchases of fuel, seed, fertilizer, feed and farm machinery, as well as veterinary services, crop and livestock consultants and equipment leasing.
  • This business-to-business activity then generates another $75.6 million in economic activity when people who work in agriculture-related businesses spend their earnings in the local economy.

Economic activity associated with Manitowoc County farms and agriculture-related businesses generates $16.3 million in local and state taxes. This figure does not include all property taxes paid to support local schools. If it did, the number would increase dramatically.

Dairy is a Key Manitowoc County Industry!

Dairy farming is the major agricultural industry in Manitowoc County. On-farm production and milk sales account for $223 million. Processing milk into dairy products generates another $692.7 million.

  • Six plants process dairy products in Manitowoc County.
  • On-farm milk production accounts for 1,118 jobs, and dairy processing accounts for 1,144 jobs.
  • At the county level, each dairy cow generates $3,802 in on-farm sales to producers.
  • At the state level, each dairy cow generates over $34,000 in total sales.

Horticulture Contributes to County Diversity

Manitowoc County sales of Christmas trees, fruits and vegetables, greenhouse, nursery and floriculture products total $8.9 million. Landscape and grounds maintenance businesses create additional full-time jobs and many seasonal jobs.

Local Food Sales

More and more Manitowoc County farmers sell directly to consumers from roadside stands, farmer’s markets, auctions and pick-your-own operations, with 97 farms generating $624,000 in local food sales.

Farmers are Stewards of the Land

Manitowoc County farmers own and manage 230,735 acres, or 61 percent, of the county’s land. This includes cropland, rangeland, pasture, tree farms and farm forests. As stewards of the land, farmers use conservation practices, such as crop rotation, nutrient management and integrated pest management, to protect environmental resources and provide habitat for wildlife.

February 2015 Manitowoc County Ag Statistics

Manitowoc County Agriculture Impact Brochure

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