Wisconsin is the top cheese producer in the United States. Known as America’s Dairyland, it produces more than 600 varieties and about a quarter of the country’s total cheese output. Madison is the state capital.
The Badger State’s total GDP is $347 billion, with the dairy industry contributing $45.6 billion to the state economy each year. Wisconsin has the most dairy farms in the country, and is second only to California in the number of dairy cows and the total amount of milk produced. Wisconsin’s other major commodities are cattle and calves, soybeans, and corn. Companies with headquarters in Wisconsin include Harley-Davidson Motor Company (Milwaukee), Northwestern Mutual (Milwaukee), Kohl’s Corp. (Menomonee Falls), Jockey International (Kenosha), Modine Manufacturing (Racine), and S.C. Johnson (Racine).
The Dells of the Wisconsin River State Natural Areas in south-central Wisconsin is a five-mile gorge with fantastic cliffs, canyons, and other rock formations. The area is home to a variety of plant and animal species. The ecosystems in the area are fragile, so there’s limited public access. Boat tours are available. There are also two sites with some public access: the Chapel Gorge, a two-mile loop trail with a small beach, and an overlook past the Stand Rock Campground. Harley-Davidson has come to symbolize individual freedom. The company was founded out of a small shed in Milwaukee in 1903. Today, the Harley-Davidson Museum tells the success story of the iconic motorcycle and the company. The 20-acre facility features more than 450 motorcycles, interactive exhibits, and memorabilia.
Wisconsin is among the 10 states with the best public schools in America. There are 71 colleges and universities in the state. The University of Wisconsin in Madison (43,463 students) is the state’s largest institution of higher education and the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System.
Wisconsin’s professional sports teams are based in Green Bay and Milwaukee. The Green Bay Packers are four-time Super Bowl champions. They are also the only nonprofit, publicly owned NFL team. In Milwaukee, sports fans root for the Bucks, Brewers (MLB), and Wave (indoor arena soccer). The Bucks won the 1971 NBA title.
In the hierarchy of states based on cost of living rate, Wisconsin (population: 5.822 million) is in the middle. It’s a more expensive place to live in than neighbor Illinois, but it’s a lot cheaper than another neighbor, Minnesota. Wisconsin levies 3.86% to 7.65% in income tax and 5% to 5.6% in sales tax.