Idaho & Washington Consistently Rank in the Top 10 Wheat Producing States
The Columbia-Snake River System is the top wheat export gateway in the United States. 49% of all U.S. wheat exports in 2014 were handled along the Columbia-Snake River system (PNWA). Wheat represents a significant part of the nation's agriculture business. Wheat is the third largest field crop produced in the U.S. and approximately one-half of the 2 billion bushels of wheat produced each year are exported (Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, 2011).
According to Idaho grain producers, the existence of the Port of Lewiston and the dam-lock structures allow the use of barge transportation along the river system. This infrastructure is a major factor in why Idaho has a $1 billion vibrant wheat and barley industry that helps serve as a backbone to the economy of Idaho and its many rural communities.
In Washington, wheat production makes similar contributions to the state's economy. In 2012, the total value of Washington wheat production was $1.16 billion, with a total economic output of approximately $2.3 billion, according to a recent study from Washington State University.