Appreciating the Abundance of American Ag

“If you eat, you are involved in agriculture…and I don’t think that leaves any of us out,” booms Orion Samuelson, a legendary radio announcer who is nicknamed the “Voice of Agriculture” after 60 years on air as he turns 88 next week.

Every spring, we take this week — #NationalAgWeek — to show our appreciation for the American ag industry that provides us with a safe, abundant supply of food, fiber and fuel. No matter where we live, we should be thankful every day for these contributions we truly couldn’t live without.


As farmers across our state prepare to plant another new crop, we recognize the value of American agriculture grown right here in South Dakota. Farming and ranching play a leading role in making ag our state’s largest industry in providing income, jobs and taxes paid. At about 30%, ag does more in the state than the manufacturing and government sectors combined.

Out of all ag categories, corn production is the largest contributor to our state’s economy. In fact, in 2020 South Dakota corn farmers grew an average of 162 bushels per acre, which was a new record!

Over 60% of South Dakota’s annual corn crop is processed at one of our 16 biorefineries to become gallons of ethanol fuel and its associated co-products. About 22% goes into feed for our state’s livestock. And 14% is stored in bins as carry-over, making us the "warehouse of the world." In addition, we also exported 193 million bushels last year. Read "4 Reasons to Fall in LOVE with SD farmers" here.


Progress in production agriculture over the years has allowed today’s family farm to feed 172 people a year. Looking back to 1960, a farmer could only 26 people. Wow!

Farmers face future challenges from growing population and rising prosperity across our country and the entire planet.

Advances in technology and science for equipment, seed and crop protection are the only ways to get more out of every acre.

Global population is forecast to grow 2.2 billion by 2050, so our farmers will have to find a way to grow about 70% more food than they already do now. What will help farmers get more production from the same land?

In addition to providing the world’s supply of food, fiber and fuel, today’s farmers also do their best to protect the land, livestock and water. Because without those resources, life as we know it is not sustainable.

Thank you, South Dakota farmers and ranchers! Here’s to a safe planting season!

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