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North Dakota Economy


Supported by its extremely fertile soil, North Dakota's agricultural economy is much larger than most other states.

In terms of revenue generated North Dakota's top five agricultural products are wheat, cattle and calves, soybeans, corn for grain, and sugar beets.


In the livestock category, beef cattle are the state's most important product

Milk ranks second.

North Dakota farmers also raise hogs.

Honey production in the state ranks North Dakota among the leading producers.


Wheat is the leading farm product in North Dakota, ranking second in production behind Kansas. North Dakota grows more durum wheat (used for pasta) than any other state.

North Dakota also leads all other states in the production of barley and sunflower seeds and is a leader in the production of flaxseed (linseed oil).

North Dakota is among the leading states in the production of canola seed, honey, navy beans, oats, pinto beans, rye, soybeans and sugar beets.

Hay is important, grown for livestock feed.

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Manufacturers add value to raw products by creating manufactured items. For example, cotton cloth becomes more valuable than a boll of cotton through manufacturing processes.

As might be expected due to North Dakota's solid agricultural base, food processing is North Dakota's most important manufacturing industry. Major food products include bread and pasta, frozen potato products and seed oils (flaxseed, sunflower seed). Dairy products include milk and cheddar cheese. Meat products are steaks and sausages. Sugar refineries process North Dakota's sugar beet crop.

Ranking second in the manufacturing arena is machinery (construction machinery, farm machinery).

Computer, electronic, fabricated metals and petroleum products, aircraft and motor vehicle parts are also manufactured in North Dakota.


North Dakota's most valuable mined product is petroleum.

Coal and natural gas are also important.

Other mined products are sand and gravel, providing the most income, clays and salt.


North Dakota's community, business and personal services are its leading industries and include private health care, law firms, motels and repair shops. Large medical centers are found in North Dakota along with operation centers for several major corporations.

Wholesale (food products, mined products, motor vehicles) and retail (grocery stores, hardware stores, restaurants, service stations, telemarketing operations) trade form the state's second-ranking service group.

Ranking third are services in the finance, insurance and real estate group. North Dakota's banking and insurance industries are centered in Fargo.

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