South Dakota Department of Agriculture

By - Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Agriculture is a major industry for South Dakota. For the farmers who work the land, agriculture is more than a job – it is a career, a passion, and a way of life.

At least 97% of farms in South Dakota are family owned and operated. Many of these farms have been in the same family for more than 100 years and the average age of a South Dakota farmer is 57 years old. There are nearly 49,000 producers in South Dakota on almost 30,000 farmes or ranches. In 2017, the average size of a farm in South Dakota was 1,443 acres.

South Dakota’s agriculture industry has a $32.5 billion economic impact each year. With more than 19 million acres of cropland and nearly 22 million acres of pastureland, our farmers and ranchers are one of our economy’s key drivers. In addition to generating 33% of our state’s economic activity, production agriculture and its value-added industries employ over 132,000 South Dakotans. This economic impact is a direct result of our production capacity and investment in value-added industries. Businesses ranging from ethanol plants and livestock feeding operations to farmers’ markets and wineries are capitalizing on agriculture’s competitive and comparative advantages for economic development in South Dakota.