MADISON, Wis. (SPECTRUM NEWS) — Wisconsin leads the country in snap, or green bean production by a wide margin.
In 2018 more than 37 percent of all green beans produced in the U.S. were grown in Wisconsin. 6.6 million counterweight (CWT) of green beans last year alone.
Wisconsin produced more green beans than the rest of the top-5 states combined.
One of the producers in the state contributing to that total is Hartung Brothers Incorporated. The company grows 6,000 acres of green beans each year.
“Good crop for growers, and it's been a good crop for us over the years and hope to keep doing it,” said Dan Hartung, a part-owner of Hartung Brothers Inc.
Hartung said part of the reason the state has had such success growing green beans is because of access to irrigation in the state. However, he said a larger reason is the infrastructure and processing plants in place for them.
“As the plants got established here that's where the crops could be grown,” Hartung said.
Paul Mitchell, director of the Renk Agribusiness Institute agrees, saying Wisconsin has spent decades producing and processing vegetables.
“A lot of it is institutional infrastructure, we have, these companies have been here since the early 1900s,” Mitchell said.
Most of the green beans get canned or frozen, and a lot of it is consumed around the holidays.
“There's always this holiday push, thanksgiving, green bean casserole is always a big one.”
But Mitchell said it's an industry in decline. Wisconsin is the second leading state in the country in vegetable production.
However, people are eating less and less canned vegetables every year.
Mitchell believes much like how dairy moved to craft cheeses in the state, the vegetable industry will figure out a new way to sell their products.
“There's a lot of assets here and companies are always looking for ways to invest their assets somewhere more profitable, and I think we're going to see some turnover here in terms of what we're actually going to do,” Mitchell said.