The Mission of the Nevada Department of Agriculture is to benefit the welfare of all persons residing in the state by encouraging the advancement and protection of Nevada's agriculture and related Industries.
Agriculture is one of Nevada's most important industries, contributing significantly to the economies of rural communities and the state as a whole. Nevada's ranches may be few in number, but they rank third in the nation in size, averaging 3,500 acres.
Nevada agriculture is directed primarily toward range livestock production. Cattle and calves are Nevada’s leading agricultural industry. Cow-calf operations are most prevalent with a few stocker operators and feedlots.
Dairy, sheep and lambs and hogs are among Nevada's other livestock enterprises. The larger cattle and sheep ranches are in the northern half of the state. The greatest number of dairies are in northern Nevada, but the largest dairies are in the south.
Despite Nevada's arid climate, irrigation allows for excellent crop growth. Alfalfa hay is the leading cash crop of the state. Much of the hay is sold to dairy operations in surrounding states. Significant quantities of alfalfa cubes and compressed bales are exported overseas each year. Alfalfa seed is another substantial crop.
Additional crops produced in Nevada include potatoes, barley, winter and spring wheat, corn, oats, onions, garlic and honey. Smaller acreages of mint, fruits and vegetables are grown throughout the state.