Wisconsin has a strong agricultural heritage. Those traditions carry on today making Wisconsin one of the most diverse agricultural states in the nation, producing a variety of dairy, livestock, vegetables and specialty crops. Wisconsin agriculture also generates $51.5 billion to the state's economy.
Most people know Wisconsin as America's Dairyland. As of January 2007, the state's 1.25 million dairy cattle produced more than 2 billion pounds of milk, a national leader next to California. The milk is then used by Wisconsin cheese makers, who rely on 160 years of quality and craftsmanship to produce more than 600 varieties, types and styles of award-winning cheese, from traditional cheddar and mozzarella to hand-crafted artisan styles.
Wisconsin's cranberry bogs lead the nation in production. Wisconsin also ranks first in the country for mink pelts, corn for silage and snap beans for processing. The Badger State ranks in the top five for oats, tart cherries, maple syrup, mint oil, and carrots, sweet corn and green peas for processing.
The department's mission is make Wisconsin a world leader in agriculture, food safety and consumer protection. Seven divisions help accomplish this, which include Agriculture Resource Management, Animal Health, Food Safety, Management Services, Agriculture Development, Office of the Secretary and Trade and Consumer Protection.