The agricultural industry of southeast Minnesota has been an essential part of life since the region’s earliest days. While the industry has evolved greatly over the years, transitioning from a generally labor-intensive industry into a more knowledge-based, technologically advanced industry, its importance has never wavered. Today, Winona County is the third-largest dairy producing county in the state of Minnesota and local agriculture and agribusiness is a more than $120 million industry.
Surrounding Winona is a vast rural landscape encompassing land for the production of corn, beans and hay and serving as a strong area for the animal ag industry. Though the agriculture around Winona is diverse, the dairy industry is the most prominent. Organic farm operations have become more common throughout the county in the last decade.
Winona has served as the hub of activity for farmers, coops and varying agribusiness companies for decades. With its locale near main highways, intermodal facilities and the Mississippi River, worldwide shipping of the region’s products has made Winona an agricultural hub. The Winona Port is the third-largest port in the state. From here, millions of pounds of various grains are shipped to locations all over the world.
The Winona Area Chamber of Commerce is a major advocate for the agricultural industry, addressing related issues at various levels of government and hosting a plethora of programs and events in order to support this important regional economic contributor. The Chamber is an advocate and promoter of the longstanding Winona Farmers Market. Now in its 26th year (2012), the downtown Farmers Market, located at the foot of Main Street, remains a significant asset in connecting area farmers and their products with local residents and visiting tourists.
The Winona Area Chamber continues to host the extremely popular Family Night on the Farm event. Since its first introduction in June 1980, the Family Night on the Farm event has grown in popularity and visibility, now drawing more than 2,000 people each year. Various farms have hosted the event over the years, showcasing the importance of the dairy farm industry to the economic well being of southeastern Minnesota. Guests enjoy everything from a family style picnic and children’s activities to petting farms, hay rides and displays of farm machinery. State and County dignitaries attend the event and greet attendees while assisting in reinforcing the message of support for agriculture.
For further information on the agricultural programs, events and initiatives of the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce, call 507-452-2272, email firstname.lastname@example.org or check us out online at www.winonachamber.com.