It feels like our Montana farmers should get more than just one day of recognition. After all, agriculture remains one of the major economic contributors in Big Sky Country. The Montana Department of Agriculture notes that ag is a $4.6 billion industry in the state. Farms and ranches cover 58 million acres, with approximately 26,900 operators growing crops, raising livestock, or (usually) a little bit of both.
Montana farmers feed the nation.
Not only our nation, but much of the world receive food crops from Montana. The Montana Wheat and Barley Committee notes that about 80% of our grains are exported around the globe. Some readers might not realize that Montana is also the top producer of lentils in the United States. We rank 2nd for dried peas and 3rd in the US for garbanzo beans (source: Great Falls Tribune). Considered a “pulse crop” nearly 90% of lentils are exported.
Photo by Michael Foth, Townsquare MediaMontana is the #1 producer of organic wheat.
We lead the nation as a producer of organic grains, beating out Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Wyoming for the top spot, according to the Organic Trade Association. Wheat (all varieties) is the biggest crop, with a staggering 457,360,000 bushels produced in 2020, per USDA crop