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Agriculture in Polk County Strong All Year

Monday, April 02, 2018

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During my recent vacation to Florida I was amazed at how green and lush the surroundings were during the height of winter.  Coconut Palm trees, orchards, and farms were thriving.  For a moment I wondered how agriculture-based counties in Wisconsin could compete economically given the fact that green plants are replaced with white snow for several months each year.  But then I reflected on several agricultural businesses in Polk County and realized that local agribusiness and agricultural products are alive and well all year.

Wisconsin is known as the Dairy State, but it is much more. While cheese and milk are produced year-round and loved by people around the world, there are many other ag-related products that are produced and sold right here in Polk County during all seasons.  Maple Syrup is produced in Wisconsin at a rate that puts it at the number 4 producer in the U.S.  The number of 'sugar shacks' in this area is impressive.  I have also visited greenhouses where everything from micro-greens to thick juicy tomatoes are raised year-round.  Wineries, breweries, and distilleries are also dotting our landscape and generating wonderful products.

Our county also hosts ag-related businesses that work with by-products of dairy.  Left-over materials from the production of cheeses are used to produce products such as whey protein, a dietary supplement, and is even used to generate energy for communities.

And don't forget, Wisconsin loves its burgers, steaks, pork chops, turkey, and chicken.  Farmers in Polk County raise and process these animals and then sell them to local restaurants, grocery stores, and specialty markets.

An emerging agriculture-related enterprise in Wisconsin is Agritourism.  This term generally refers to any agriculture operation that is open to the public.  Polk County is home to a wide variety of agritourism operations including pumpkin patches, corn mazes, educational tours, farmers markets, processing demonstrations and petting zoos to name a few.  And, of course, my favorite:  brewery tours.

While Polk County may not stay green all year, the agriculture business is alive and well.  Our farmers deserve a big 'Thank you' from all of us for the food that they allow us to put on our tables.  But they also deserve credit for their forward-thinking and creativity in generating diversity in their products and services such that we can enjoy them year-round.  Their adaptability to our environment and their ability to produce products year-round helps our economy with jobs and incomes.

The Polk County Economic Development Corporation is a public-private organization that was created to encourage and promote economic development and capital investment, create and retain quality jobs, enhance the tax base and facilitate positive sustainable growth throughout Polk County, Wisconsin.

Category: PCEDC Blog