The future of regional economic employment growth depends on a supportive small business environment. The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) shares the mission of the UW-La Crosse College of Business Administration, University of Wisconsin System Administration and the commitment to economic development. 

Economic Indicators: An Update for the 7 Rivers Region

Economic Indicators Logo.jpgThursday, October 3, 2019
7:00-9:00 a.m.
The Bluffs in the UW-La Crosse Student Union
521 East Avenue North
t: $25
Register here.

Topic:  Hemp
How the legalization of hemp and hemp derivatives is shaping the regional economy

Following a change in federal law, the State of Wisconsin, in 2018, passed legislation that made it legal to grow industrial hemp.  About 200 Wisconsin farmers then began to produce hemp. Farmers grow hemp for oil, seed, and fiber. Currently, there is significant interest in growing hemp to produce cannabidiol (CBD), which is being marketed as a supplement for a variety of potential health applications. Many Wisconsin farmers are hoping that hemp can provide them with a new income source, especially since the dairy industry has been struggling for years. Join Professor Taggert (TJ) Brooks and members of the local business community for a deeper look at this topic.

UW-La Crosse, in cooperation with State Bank Financial and the La Crosse Tribune, initiated a long-term study in early 2002 of our region's economic indicators. The research is ongoing and focuses on trends for a nine-county region that includes counties in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. This project is expected to continuously build a base of economic information and provide decision makers with valuable tools for strategic planning. The information will also provide a basis for comparison with other regions and a measure of our progress as a region. 

In addition to the open forum, findings are also summarized in a publication available on the State Bank Financial website: We have also provided links to the core economic indicators. Readers can use these links as needed for individual research projects.

7 Rivers Region

7 Rivers Region logo

The 7 Rivers Region is the economic and geographic area of western Wisconsin, southeast Minnesota, and northeast Iowa. We are developing unity as we experience the power of regionalism. The counties included in the 7 Rivers Region are Jackson, Juneau, La Crosse, Monroe, Trempealeau, and Vernon in Wisconsin, Houston and Winona in Minnesota, and Allamakee and Winneshiek in Iowa. However, the boundary of the 7 Rivers Region is fluid and changing. The intention is to include public and private organizations who define themselves as part of the region.


The 7 Rivers Alliance is the leadership group that boosts economic growth and encourages all activities that lead to collaboration and regionalism.  The goals of the 7 Rivers Alliance are to provide a clearinghouse of vital information designed to enhance economic development, provide a model for collaboration that facilitates partnerships and provides regional leadership, and provide a spirit of cooperation that transcends borders for the good of our region. The 7 Rivers Alliance promotes not only the spirit of cooperation, but works on the strategies and activities that put this spirit into action. Learn more.

La Crosse Area Development Corp. 

La Crosse Area Development Corporation (LADCO) can assist with expanding or relocating your business.  Learn more.

Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission

The Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission's website includes economic data on communities throughout Western Wisconsin. Learn more.

Tourism - Tourism site for La Crosse County. - Tourism site for Wisconsin, including the Southwest Region of Wisconsin.