March is Agriculture Month!

March is designated as Agriculture Month while Agriculture Day is observed on March 14.

How can South Dakotans celebrate? We can thank farmers for growing the food, fuel and fiber that we depend on. We can applaud the fact that our food is safe, abundant and affordable. And here are a few interesting farming and food facts to learn and share.

  • Agriculture is the number one industry in South Dakota, pouring $25.6 billion into the state’s economy each year. (S.D. Department of Agriculture)
  • Agriculture contributes more than $645 million to South Dakota tax revenues. (S.D. Department of Agriculture)
  • Agriculture accounts for 30 percent of all economic activity in South Dakota. The second largest industry, manufacturing, generates 16 percent. (S.D. Department of Agriculture)
  • Nearly one of every three dollars generated by South Dakota agriculture starts in a corn field. (SDSU)
  • In 2018, 778 million bushels of corn were produced in South Dakota. (2019 PRX Report)
  • More than 115,000 South Dakotans work in the ag industry. (S.D. Department of Agriculture)
  • South Dakota produces more than 1 billion gallons of ethanol annually from 15 ethanol plants, with another plant coming on line later this year. (South Dakota Ethanol)
  • 98 percent of South Dakota farms are family-owned and operated. (S.D. Department of Agriculture)
  • Each South Dakota farmer produces enough food to feed 155 people. (S.D. Department of Agriculture)
  • The top five crops in South Dakota are corn, soybeans, hay, wheat and alfalfa. (2015, S.D. Department of Agriculture)
  • South Dakota ranks sixth among all states in corn production (beef2live.com).
  • 92 million bushels of corn were used as livestock feed in South Dakota in 2018. (2019 PRX Report)
  • South Dakota ranks first nationwide in the number of cattle per capita. The cattle population is 3,560,000, while the human population is 844,877, resulting in 4.32 cattle for every person. (beef2live.com)
  • South Dakota also leads the nation in bison, with 33,637, which is more than 20 percent of the U.S. total. (USDA)
  • South Dakota is home to 31,000 farms, 19 million acres of cropland and 23 million acres of pastureland. (S.D. Department of Agriculture)
  • Out of South Dakota’s 66 counties, 37 derive at least 50 percent of their total economic output from agriculture and ag-related industries. (S.D. Department of Agriculture)

During this year’s Agriculture Month, let’s give thanks for the hard work, dedication and success of America’s farmers—and show our appreciation for the farmers in our lives.