What has agriculture done for Wyoming lately?

Cows and calves on green rangeland with mountains in background
Of gross revenue from agriculture in 2014, 66 percent came from marketing livestock. UW Photo: Chavawn Kelley, Sims Cattle Company, McFadden, Wyoming

Wyoming’s farms and ranches account for approximately 30.4 million acres of land and $22 billion in investments in land, buildings, machinery and equipment.

Families, individuals, partnerships and family-held corporations account for 96 percent of the approximately 11,700 farms and ranches in the state.

Wyoming agricultural production generated gross income of $2.1 billion in 2014.

Grocery stores, feed stores, veterinarians, bulk fuel dealers, health care providers and restaurants benefit from the $2.1 billion in secondary impacts resulting from local spending by Wyoming agriculture.

These are some of the insights presented in “The Economic Importance of Wyoming Agricultural Production,” a new four-page report from University of Wyoming Extension and the UW Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics.

The report is available free at bit.ly/UWEpubs.

Economists David “Tex” Taylor, Thomas Foulke and Roger Coupal, authors of the report, estimate the total economic impact of the agricultural industry is double the gross income from agricultural production, for a total contribution of $4.2 billion to the Wyoming economy.

“Agriculture plays an important role by bringing in outside revenue through export sales, and it provides economic diversity,” said Taylor.

Wyoming’s 2.4 million acres of cropland, 1.3 million cattle and calves, 355,000 sheep and lambs, 85,000 hogs and pigs, 72,000 horses, 27,000 chickens, 9,000 goats and 3 million pounds of honey also produce jobs.

Taylor, Foulke and Coupal report the $4.2 billion of economic activity associated with agriculture supported an estimated 33,000 jobs directly and in support industries, with total labor income of nearly a billion dollars.

From a government standpoint, Coupal found agriculture generates an estimated $77.5 million in tax revenue for Wyoming state and local governments yet costs only $0.54 in local government services for every $1.00 of revenue generated.

Open space from private agricultural lands provides landscapes, lifestyles, wildlife habitat, and other ecosystem services that have economic value to both residents and visitors.

A survey sponsored by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, the Wyoming Stock Growers Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy and the Ruckelshaus Institute at the University of Wyoming found that nearly 80 percent of Wyoming residents feel they benefit from the presence of farms and ranches in Wyoming.

For more information, contact Taylor at 307-766-5682 or ttaylor@uwyo.edu.

“The Economic Importance of Wyoming Agricultural Production” is among the many free guides, courses and videos from UW Extension that help extend skills in ranching, irrigation, small acreage management, succession, legacy and estate planning and more. YouTube video series from UW Extension include “Barnyards and Backyards,” “From the Ground Up” and “Exploring the Nature of Wyoming.”