Celebrate National Agriculture Month

Each March, we celebrate National Agriculture Month, National Ag Week and National Ag Day.

This year, the COVID-19 outbreak has forced the cancellation of Ag Month and Ag Day activities. During this difficult and uncertain time, South Dakota’s ag industry and its contributions to the state’s economy continues—with the necessary safety precautions—because food production is essential. Working together, we will eventually move past this crisis into a bright future for South Dakota.

Why do we celebrate agriculture?

  1. Agriculture is important to the world. It provides almost everything we eat, use and wear every day (National Ag Day).
  2. Agriculture is important to the U.S. farming, food and related industries contributing $1.053 trillion to the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017—a 5.4% share (U.S. Farm Bureau).
  3. Agriculture is important to South Dakota. It accounts for $11.2 billion in total value added and 132,105 jobs in our state (2019 SD Agriculture Economic Contribution Study).

South Dakota-Based Agriculture

Here’s some additional information on agriculture in our state:

  • There are 29,968 farms and ranches in South Dakota (2019 SD Agriculture Economic Contribution Study).
  • South Dakota ranks first in the nation for bison inventory and sunflower production. We rank third nationally in honey production, fourth in oat production,  fifth in beef cow inventory, flaxseed production and spring wheat production and sixth in corn production and sorghum production (2019 SD Agriculture Economic Contribution Study).
  • Agriculture and related industries in South Dakota contribute $496.75 million in state and local taxes (2019 SD Agriculture Economic Contribution Study).
  • The 132,105 South Dakota jobs created by ag and related industries represent 22% of total South Dakota jobs. In addition, the number of jobs has increased from 115,641 in 2014 (2019 SD Agriculture Economic Contribution Study).
  • Of the $11.2 billion in added value that ag and related industries bring to South Dakota, $3.4 billion were crop production related, $5.8 billion were livestock production related and $2 billion were related to other types of agriculture (2019 SD Agriculture Economic Contribution Study).

The Future of Agriculture

National Ag Day is a great time to help educate young people and remind everyone of the importance of agriculture—as well as the many career opportunities that exist in the ag industry, such as:

  • Farm production
  • Agribusiness management and marketing
  • Agricultural research and engineering
  • Agricultural science, such as agronomy, biochemistry, genetics and engineering
  • Agriculture technology, such as precision agriculture
  • Food science
  • Animal science
  • Processing and retailing
  • Banking, finance, insurance and accounting
  • Education
  • Agricultural law

Because of its critical role in human life and society, agriculture will always be a smart career choice. And for young people looking for a challenge, the ag industry offers many opportunities to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems.

To learn more about South Dakota agriculture, see the full 2019 SD Agriculture Economic Contribution Study, available at https://sdda.sd.gov/office-of-the-secretary/Photos-Publications/2019_FinalSD_AECS.pdf. To learn more about National Ag Day, visit https://www.agday.org/.