Grain Bins


Agriculture Is the Lifeblood of South Dakota

Posted on March 05, 2019

What would South Dakota look like without the agriculture industry? It would be vastly different than the state we have today, from the smallest towns to the largest cities. Our state is fortunate to have an industry that not only feeds the world, but also provides economic opportunities and jobs for South Dakota citizens.

South Dakota is getting ready to celebrate Ag Day on March 15—a holiday that recognizes the importance of the agriculture industry to our country. But let’s focus on how agriculture boosts South Dakota.

Everyone Benefits from Agriculture

Agriculture is the number one industry in the state of South Dakota. It’s an economic powerhouse for our state, pouring $25.6 billion into the state’s economy each year. South Dakota proudly has more than 31,500 farms, 19 million acres of cropland and 23 million acres of pastureland.

Agriculture is so much more than cows, sows and crops—it includes agri-food industries, such as food processing, farm machinery, chemicals and fertilizer. The agriculture industry generates 30 percent of the state’s economic activity. That means out of every three jobs, one of those jobs is tied to the agriculture industry in some way. More than 115,000 South Dakotans work in the agriculture industry, from ethanol plants and livestock feeding operations to farmers markets and wineries.

Each household in South Dakota is directly impacted by the state’s agriculture industry to the tune of an increased $1.6 billion in spending power. That’s a lot of stores, families and communities boosted by one industry.

All South Dakotans benefit from our state’s agriculture industry. Agriculture contributes more than $645 million to South Dakota tax revenues—money that is spent on schools, state parks, public services and more.

Out of 66 counties in South Dakota, 37 of those derive at least 50 percent of their total economic output from agriculture and ag-related industries.

Where Does Corn Fit?

Corn farming is a major contributor to the total economic output for the South Dakota agriculture industry, producing 778 million bushels in 2018 and using 514 million bushels in-state. South Dakota’s corn industry directly produced $3.28 billion in receipts. South Dakota corn producers pumped $2.43 billion into the state’s economy, providing $1.71 billion in total labor income to more than 30,000 employees.

Although South Dakota corn production provides 6.4 percent of statewide GDP, the sector fuels 6.9 percent of labor income and 5.5 percent of all South Dakota jobs. A great example of this is just how much corn is processed for ethanol and used right here in South Dakota. More than 376 million bushels of corn are processed for ethanol right here. South Dakota produces more than 1 billion gallons of ethanol annually from 15 ethanol plants, with another plant coming on line later this year.

Growing corn also contributes to South Dakota’s livestock industry. All livestock needs to eat, and corn is an obvious feedstuff that routinely makes up livestock rations. South Dakota used 92 million bushels of corn in 2018 for feed.

We are proud to represent South Dakota’s corn farmers who contribute to the economic boom that is our state’s agriculture industry. South Dakota Corn strives to represent the best interests of those who grow corn and are impacted by our state’s corn and ethanol industries.

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