Phelps Leads the Way in Agriculture by Producing $578 Billion in Corn, Soybeans, and Cattle Annually

Phelps Leads the Way in Agriculture by Producing $578 Billion in Corn, Soybeans, and Cattle Annually Main Photo

29 Mar 2024

Phelps is one of the top five counties in Nebraska for agriculture, with 371 farms across 341,523 acres. Many of these farms are multi-generational, with kids growing up and working the same land that their parents and grandparents tended to. One of these farmers is Shane Westcott, President of the Board of Directors for the Phelps County Development Corporation (PCDC). To honor National Agriculture Month, Westcott recently shared what farming means to him and the Phelps economy as a whole.

“Agriculture and its natural resources are the lifeblood of Phelps County,” he says. “The importance of agriculture cannot be emphasized enough. Ag-related positions account for 1 out of 4 jobs in Nebraska.” 

Good Soil and a Stable Water Supply Lead to Consistent Crops

It’s no coincidence that Phelps County is one of the leading producers of crops and cattle in Nebraska, if not the United States. The fertile soil makes it easier to grow crops each year and continue planting from one season to the next.

“Our Holdrege silt loam soils are among the most productive in the world,” says Westcott. “I believe we are uniquely located to support value-added production. With our stable water supply, surface and ground water, we have the most consistent production of crops in the country.”  

The natural environment has been tilled by farmers in Phelps for more than 150 years, and many of the people in this region expect their farms to support American consumers for the next century. 

The Agriculture Industry in Phelps Expands Beyond Farming

While farmers are the foundation of the Phelps economy, they are part of the much larger agriculture industry. Farmers rely on processing companies, suppliers, and other vendors to support their operations, which is another reason why Phelps thrives. As its prominence as a top corn and soybean producer grows, more companies are drawn to the region to work with local farmers.

“With our natural resources, our people, and our location within not only the state but the country, I would challenge anyone to find a better location for an agriculture business to be located,” says Westcott. “Phelps County has everything needed for a company to thrive.”

Westcott is a great example of agri-business development as a whole. While he is a third-generation farmer in the area, his parents also owned and operated a fertilizer, seed, and grain bin company in Holdrege. 

Ag Month Recognizes the Value Farmers Provide to the American People

Since 1973, the Agriculture Council of America (ACA) has used the month of March to highlight farming and ranching on a national level. The ACA encourages Americans to spend this month learning about where their food comes from and what it takes to produce fresh, consistent produce and animal products. With a farming-dominated economy, the people of Phelps have a strong connection to their food.  

“American farmers produce the safest, most reliable food in the world,” says Westcott. “This is something, I believe, the people of our country take for granted.”

Without the farmers, suppliers, processors, and other agri-business companies in Phelps, there would be a gaping hole in the availability of food products sold to the American public. 

PCDC is Committed to Supporting Local Farmers

There are 612 farmers in Phelps County. Along with producing corn and soybeans, our farmers manage more than 180,000 head of cattle to meet the needs of the American market. PCDC is committed to meeting the economic needs of these food producers by, among other things, bringing processors and suppliers to the region.

PCDC believes in growing the quality of life in Phelps County so it is a great place to live, learn, and play. The organization is farmer-focused with the help of board members like Westcott and other members who are actively involved in its activities.

Phelps County Development Corporation has the tools, information, and skills to assist you with relocation for your business or family. PCDC is ready to help with housing and project advocacy, including permitting, timely utilities, and financial assistance. Contact PCDC at (308) 995-4148 or today. To further explore “Why Phelps,” download the community guide.

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