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South Dakota:
Under God, the People Rule

Advancing Agriculture

Agriculture is the foundation of South Dakota's economy and our number one industry, by a significant margin. All in all, it contributes about $32.1 billion to the economy, accounting for almost 30 percent of South Dakota’s total economic output. So when ag prospers, South Dakota prospers; when droughts hit or markets slide, everyone feels that, too.

As a lifelong farmer and rancher, I know the challenges that come with the business. I know the stress that comes when you take out loans, bury that money in the ground in the form of seed and fertilizer, and hope not only for a good yield, but for the right market conditions at the right time. It’s a tough business, but I understand why folks do it. It’s a special job to feed the world – to know that the product of your labor brings families together around a dinner table, that your work makes a real difference.

As governor, I’m utilizing my experience as a lifelong producer to advance agriculture in our state. From protecting property rights to expanding markets, my administration is committed to developing the state’s agricultural economy and passing the opportunity to thrive as farmers and ranchers in South Dakota onto our kids and grandkids.

In 2021, I merged the Department of Agriculture with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to form the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The new department is continuing to protect and preserve agriculture and the environment while providing more efficient government services to producers. After I transferred all Ag Development services to my office of economic development in 2019, it made sense to reduce red tape even further and create a one-stop shop in state government for farmers and ranchers.

I am also working to improve and expand markets for South Dakota meat producers. In 2021, I announced a grant program for meat processors to invest in facilities and new equipment so that we can increase our capacity to process and store South Dakota meat products. My administration is also working with the USDA to allow our producers to sell state-inspected meat products across state lines. In addition, we are investing in a new livestock and equestrian facility, the Dakota Events CompleX, at the South Dakota State Fairgrounds that will showcase our ag commodities and make South Dakota a top destination for ag-related events.

Finally, I am continuing to leverage my federal experience to promote South Dakota ag and to protect our state from federal overreach. Farmers want level playing fields, expanded market opportunities, and less government in their lives. These are conversations I regularly had with former President Trump. The Biden Administration has been making moves to expand government control over our ag producers. I will always fight to protect South Dakota ag from higher taxes, unnecessary regulations, and other federal policies that hurt our way of life.

I’m proud of our agriculture tradition in South Dakota. Our ag industry is special. It’s our legacy, our culture. We must do everything we can to ensure the ag economy is ready to support the next generation of farmers and ranchers.