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Because Minnesota is agriculturally diverse, consideration of regional differences in agriculture is important when addressing agricultural issues in the state. In order for policy makers, researchers, and organizations to effectively deal with regional variation that can affect their work, they need a description and understanding of the variation. One way to achieve this is with a regional breakdown of the state based on a systematic analysis of agricultural characteristics at the state level. This study presents the results of a cluster analysis of Minnesota counties using 65 agricultural variables from the 1987 Agricultural Census. Seven core agricultural regions are identified and described: (1) the Red River Valley; {2} Lake Agassiz beach ridge; {3} a northern forested region; {4) a north central dairy region; (5) a southeastern dairy region; (6) the Twin Cities metropolitan region; and {7) two subregions within a corn-soybean-hog region. Clustering dendrograms are presented so that clusters at different levels of similarity can be identified. The results of this study are compared to those of a national-scale agricultural classification of counties. Some problems in working with the agricultural census data are discussed.

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Agriculture Commons



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