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The Importance of Agriculture to Minnesota's Economy

By David Bau, Extension Educator

According to 2016 Summary from the Minnesota Agriculture Statistic Service there was 8.39 million acres or corn harvested in 2016 with a yield of 193 bushels per acre average for total revenue of $5,343,591,000 at $3.30 per bushel. There were 7.5 million harvested soybean acres at 52.5 bushels at $9.25 which totals $3,642,188,000. Combining for over 9 billion dollars in revenue generated.

Other crop sales generated over 1.5 billion in revenue on 73,300 farms on 25.9 million acres. Dairy farmers produced 9.67 billion pounds of milk valued at $1.624 billion. There is also a large swine, cattle turkey, chicken, and sheep industries in Minnesota with a total revenue generated in 2016 of $7.4 billion.

All this added together totals $17.9 billion in farm sales which trickles throughout the Minnesota economy. With an estimated population at end of 2016, of 5.4 million, this translates to $3,315 of ag sales for every citizen in Minnesota. This does not include the many industries in Minnesota that also rely on the agricultural industry.

Grain farmers just experienced record high corn and soybean prices followed the last couple of years by much lower prices. If you added $3.00 to the corn price and $6.00 to the soybean price this would have added $4.858 billion in more agricultural sales for corn and $2.363 billion more soybean revenue. Added together for a total of $7.22 billion in more revenue, divide this by the total number of farms and the average loss of income by each farm of $98,499. This change in revenue is what the Minnesota corn and soybean farmer has been experiencing for the last few years. Table 1 below shows the average cash corn and soybean prices for Worthington from 2007 through 2016.

Calendar Year

































The impact from changing hay and livestock prices has a similar effect on the Minnesota economy. Corn and soybean farmers have a significant impact on the Minnesota economy and as their revenue goes up and down this trickles down and is felt across rural Minnesota and the whole state with many industries in Minnesota dependent on the prosperity of Minnesota farmers. The change in revenue in just 10 years translates into $1.337 average in lost revenue for every Minnesotan.

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