Natural Resources Drive Wisconsin’s Economy

“The economy is a wholly owned subsidiary of the environment, not the other way around.” ~Gaylord Nelson

From tourism to the paper industry to beer-making, Wisconsin is rich with industries that rely on natural resources to survive and thrive. For example:

  • Agriculture is dependent on the availability of clean water, undeveloped land, and productive soils. In 2008, agriculture generated a whopping $51.5 billion in economic activity in Wisconsin. And, Wisconsin is second in the nation in the number of certified organic farms it supports–an industry that is seeing tremendous growth.
  • Pulp, paper, wood products and printing rely on Wisconsin’s 16 million acres of forests and provide one in every eight manufacturing jobs in the state.
  • Tourism, dependent on Wisconsin’s scenic beauty and abundant resources, is Wisconsin’s second largest industry, generating over $12 billion in travel revenue, almost $7 billion in resident income and almost 300,000 jobs.
  • Wisconsin’s beer brewing industry, which requires significant quantities of clean water, generates $761 million in wages and provides over 32,000 jobs.
  • Clean energy is spurring economic growth, with the wind energy industry alone investing $400 million in Wisconsin in 2007 and clean energy technology attracting more than $46 million in venture capital to Wisconsin between 2006-2009.

The examples are endless – view more research on this important topic.