2020: A Year in Review

From start to finish, 2020 has been a crazy year and one we will all certainly never forget. From January snowstorms to the COVID-19 pandemic and a dry fall, many of us are looking to put this year in the past and move toward 2021.

It wasn’t all bad, though. Despite the ups and downs 2020 dealt us, we still found many reasons to celebrate. You can find many of these reasons and stories of perseverance in our 2020 annual report.  

If you haven’t received it in the mail yet, it’s available on our website free to download

Here are some of the top highlights from this year at SD Corn:

Export and Trade

One of the brightest notes of 2020 is our harvest totals. We’ve harvested nearly 750 million bushels. This is a 35% increase from 2019 and makes a huge impact in the state’s economy not only in the U.S., but across the globe.

An example of this impact comes to us from South Korea, as they sought South Dakota and U.S. ethanol for industrial uses. According to the U.S. Grains Council, South Korea imported 58.9 million gallons of U.S. ethanol—the equivalent of 20.9 million bushels of corn. This was fueled by the demand for hand sanitizer amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Two major trade deals also took effect in 2020 and are monumental for agriculture exports. The United-States-Mexico-Canada-Agreement ensures free trade with our nation’s two biggest and closest partners. Combined, South Dakota exports well over $800 million worth of corn each year.

Phase 1 of the U.S.-China trade deal opens a huge market for South Dakota’s corn exports. Nearly one-third of our corn is transported by rail to the Pacific Northwest and shipped overseas. Having China as a purchaser of our corn is a huge deal not only for 2020, but for our expanding foreign corn markets going forward. 

This is Farming campaign builds trust with consumers

Farming isn’t just cornfields and combines. It’s the small moments and big challenges we all face every day. 

Going to work and paying bills, raising a family and sharing the joys in life with friends are some things many people experience and it’s the focus of the latest installment of the “This is Farming” campaign. 

The overall message of the campaign is farmers and consumers are really not as different as they might think. We all share in the same values and can see each other’s perspectives in this light.

Featured in the print and TV ad is SDCGA board member Dave Ellens and his family as scenes are shown that might reflect a typical day in their farming household with a mother that works off the farm. 

If you haven’t seen the ad yet, be on the look-out for it on local TV or you can preview the print, video, radio and digital ads here. 

Commitment to education and research

One major area of focus at South Dakota Corn is supporting projects that are not only good for our state, but also foster sustainability and profitability on the farm. 

One of our huge areas of commitment to education and research is in our partnership with South Dakota State University and the Raven Precision Agriculture Center. SDCUC has invested $2 million to endow the precision agriculture director. Construction on the project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2021 and students will take to the center in the fall 2021 semester. 

Agriculture education doesn’t start at the collegiate level, though. With over 46,000 school-aged children in Sioux Falls alone, education of the young mind is something South Dakota Corn tackled head-on this year. 

In the summer of 2020, the “Grow It!” exhibit opened at the Washington Pavilion and featured over 3,000 square feet of interactive, ag-themed exhibits. Our partnership with Avera, KELO, Raven, Pipestone, POET and SDSU allowed us to bring community education to the next level for 2020 and beyond.   

Creating a brighter future

It’s no secret that agriculture is the No. 1 industry in South Dakota and the state’s No. 1 crop is corn.

Ethanol production consumes more than half of all the corn harvested in South Dakota and in 2020 the industry took a hit with the COVID-19 pandemic and less demand for fuel as fewer people traveled. No one can be certain how long the effects of the pandemic will last, but we are hopeful as we look toward 2021.

Additionally, this was a record year in Pierre with nearly 500 bills filed at the state level. Five of the nine agriculture-related bills passed and will help make an impact on the future of ag.

2021 and beyond

2020 wasn’t all bad, but we’re ready to move on to a new year with new and exciting challenges. In just over a week, it’ll be 2021. 

Make sure to check out our annual report before you begin planning for the upcoming year. If you missed it, you can still download the report here

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