Amber waves of grain – hard red spring wheat, durum and barley – have long been the mainstay of the North Dakota’s agricultural economy. More recently, the state has become the nation’s leading producer of such crops such as sunflowers, field peas, dry edible beans, flax, honey and canola. North Dakota is also a major producer of sugar beets, potatoes and other commodities.
Thanks to the growing demand for ethanol, corn production, once largely confined the southeast corner of North Dakota, is now statewide. Soybean and canola production is also rapidly increasing to meet the demand for biodiesel.
The state’s livestock industry, mostly cow-calf and purebred cattle production, accounts for about 15 percent of the state’s agricultural cash receipts.
Nearly 90 percent of North Dakota land area is in farms and ranches. Agriculture is the largest segment of the state’s economy and is responsible for almost one-fourth of the state’s employment.