The northern parts of Benue State are grass savannah while there is woodland savannah in the south. Agriculture is very important in the state. The state is referred to as the nation's "food basket" because of its rich and diverse agricultural produce, which include yams, rice, beans, cassava, potatoes, maize, soya beans, sorghum, millet and coco-yams. It accounts for over 70 percent of Nigeria's soya bean production. Fishing in inland waterways and animal husbandry are other significant commercial activities.
The major minerals found in the state include limestone, gypsum, kaolin, lead, zinc, anhydride, coal, calcite, gemstones and magnetite. Breweries and cement manufacturing are its major industries.
The tertiary institutions in the state includes: Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi; a state university - Benue State University, Makurdi; a private university -University of Mkar, Mkar; the Colleges of Education at Katsina-Ala and Oju, Akperan; Federal Technical School, Otukpo; the Schools of Nursing and Midwifery in Markudi; and a number of polytechnics.
The Road-Railway Bridge (also known as the Old Bridge) in Makurdi was the first bridge that linked the north and south of Nigeria. It was built in 1932; previously, a ferry was used to transport people and goods across the Benue River. The bridge cemented Makurdi's importance as a commercial centre during the pre-independence era.