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Economic and Business Sector

Benton County's Largest Employers

The regional economy is fairly diverse and includes paper manufacturing, granite mining and processing, production of window sashes, doors and cabinets, poultry processing, optical lens production, dairy products, and farm machinery sales and servicing. Because the area is steadily growing, the local construction industry is kept very busy.

Table 1 - Benton County's Largest Employers

Firm Product/Service Employees
Knife River Highway and Bridge Construction 721
Verso Paper Paper Mill 540
Quebecor Printing 540
Woodcraft Hardwood Manufacturer 498
Sauk Rapids-Rice Schools - ISD #47 Schools 485
Country Manor Health Care Nursing Homes 462
Stearns Manufacturing Recreational Goods 331
Array Services Group Business Services 250
Benton, County of Government 235
Foley Schools - ISD #51 Schools 225

Source: MN Dept. of Trade & Economic Development Community Profiles (mnpro.com)

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Benton County Economic Sectors

Information on the number of businesses in Benton County by major economic sector, along with employment figures and their respective annual payrolls is given in Table 2 In terms of employment and payroll, manufacturing is the largest sector of the Benton County economy with retail trade coming in second.

Table 2 - Benton County Economic Sectors

Sector Number Employees Payroll Share of the Market
Ag Serv/For/Fish N/D N/D N/D 3.24%
Construction 141 893 $29,118,594 12.65%
FIRE 60 283 $5,208,601 2.43%
Government 41 1,267 $31,815,673 9.95%
Manufacturing 62 3,405 $97,394,394 30.33%
Retail Trade 172 2,797 $42,166,120 12.68%
Services 193 2,446 $40,790,065 16.20%
Trans/Pub. Utilities 49 298 $6,641,248 3.87%
Wholesale Trade 62 846 $23,107,760 8.66%

Source: University of Minnesota Extension Service Benton County Profile of Business and Labor 2000 (ND=No Data)

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Benton County Firms by Employment

An overwhelming number of the firms in Benton County are small, with the majority of them under 50 employees. On the other hand, 22 firms employ 100 or more employees, an increase from the previous year.

Table 3 - Benton County Firms by Employment

Number of Employees Businesses Percent
1 to 4 384 50.1%
5 to 9 145 18.9%
10 to 19 114 14.8%
20 to 49 83 10.8%
50 to 99 23 3%
100 to 249 13 1.6%
250 to 499 4 0%
500 to 999 0 0%
1000+ 0 0

Source: County Business Patterns, 2001

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Agriculture

One major farm product dominates Benton County's agricultural sector, milk from dairy operation. Additional income is earned from sales of beef cattle and hogs. As Figure 1 illustrates, the relative importance of the various livestock types has remained fairly constant over the past 20 years.

Figure 1 - Benton County Livestock Inventories

Livestock Chart

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census of Agriculture, Charted by Dan Martens, Benton County Extension Technical Advisor, 2004

Table 4 - Benton County Agricultural Statistics

Category Benton County Minnesota
Total Area (acres) 261,297 50,744,960
Number of Farms 965 80,839
Farm Land (Acres) 195,949 27,512,270
Average Farm Size 203 340
% Over 500 Acres 8.29% 19.0%
% Less than 50 Acres 27.3% 24.9%
Cash Receipts $89,610,000 $8,290,264,000
Average Prod. Value Farm $107,446 $112,997
Average Prod. Value/Acre $508 $112,997

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census of Agriculture, Charted by Dan Martens, Benton County Extension Technical Advisor, 2002

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