Agriculture in the Mountain States
There are 117,100 farms and ranches within the states of Idaho, Montana, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Montana is the largest agricultural state in terms of area farmed.
The majority of agricultural land in Idaho and Washington is crop production.
Soil quality, water availability and regional climate sway most of the pasturing versus crop production decisions.
Idaho has the largest percentage of irrigated acres in the Mountain States.
BY CHRIS CARGILL
Agriculture is a pivotal industry to the Mountain States, contributing billions of dollars annually. Jobs and businesses depend on the success of farmers and ranchers, but challenges are increasing for the region’s agribusinesses. Inflation is challenging farmers nationally and regulatory pressure is increasing as west coast politicians push for more restrictive laws.
Policy ideas championed in California, such as removing the agricultural exemption for overtime pay, have been lightly scrutinized and adopted with fanfare in Washington and Oregon. But these policies hurt farmers and farmworkers alike.
Mountain States Policy Center (MSPC) has written the following report to summarize the composition of the agricultural industry across the five mountain states of Idaho, Montana, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The role agribusiness plays in the region is vital and policymakers need to identify the immense network it supports and enable its future success, not suppress its growth with more regulations.