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Agriculture and Agribusiness

Nebraska hosts a unique mix of industries – all of which contribute greatly to the local and statewide economy. Twelve industries have a notable presence in the state. According to the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, major industry clusters include biosolutions, transportation logistics, software and technology, finance and insurance, R&D and engineering, tourism, health care, renewable energy and manufacturing.

But Nebraska’s diverse market is made possible in large part by one particular industry – agriculture and agribusiness.

The Nebraska Department of Agriculture notes that farm marketing contributes more than $23 billion to the state economy (2013). A remarkable 92 percent (45.3 million acres) of Nebraska’s total land area is used for farming or livestock production. In 2013, the state supported around 49,600 farms and ranches.

Leading commodities produced in Nebraska include corn, cattle, soybeans, hogs, wheat, dairy products, eggs, hay, dry beans and sugar beets. Nebraska is also the nation’s leader in popcorn production.

Livestock and poultry account for roughly 50 percent of the total agricultural cash receipts in Nebraska. It is said that one in every five steaks and hamburgers consumed in the U.S. is produced in Nebraska – which produces more beef per square mile than any other state. Nebraska is the nation’s top producer of commercial red meat.

Corn is also a major player in the Nebraska economy. More than one billion bushels of corn are produced each year here. Of that, more than a third of the state’s corn is used for ethanol production. In 2013, Nebraska ranked second in the nation in ethanol production capacity with 24 ethanol facilities.

Agriculture has a hand in supporting various other state industries, as well. Nebraska’s $6.6 billion in agricultural exports in 2013 stimulated some $8.1 billion in additional economic activity. Meanwhile, nine Nebraska cooperatives are ranked among the top 100 in the country, according to data from the National Cooperative Bank.

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