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Value-Added Ag

The Future of Food Processing

South Dakota is well-versed in the importance of agricultural science and innovation. Thanks in part to support from our one-of-a-kind research facilities and a rich history in agriculture production, South Dakota is at the forefront of value-added agriculture. Add in plenty of room to grow, increased livestock populations and a dedicated Midwest workforce, South Dakota has become a top destination in which food processors can thrive.

Food Processing

South Dakota is synonymous with food processing, with some of the industry’s most well-known companies operating here from Bel Brands, to Agropur and Smithfield. Here, South Dakota food processors can count on a reliable network of experience, access to research and an educated workforce in partnership with the unique food study programs at South Dakota State University. Graduates from these programs have 100 percent placement rate, ensuring the strength of your future workforce.


Our dairy cow population has increased by 119 percent in the last ten years, while total milk production has increased by 122 percent. Thanks to South Dakota’s investment in dairy operations along with business-friendly regulations, our producers and processors are leading the dairy industry with additional resources for growth.

We’re also home to the only university that offers manufacturing, dairy, production and food science programs in one department, and only one of six dairy research centers in the nation. This access to the top dairy researchers, hands-on education and real-time innovation is an essential resource to the success of dairy processing in our state.


South Dakota’s pork processing industry is well-poised for growth thanks in-part to land availability and ultra-low feed prices. On top of that, our hog inventory has grown by more than 83 percent over the past ten years and remains on the rise.

Major Employers

Industry Data

Agriculture GDP
Value-Added Ag GDP
Value-Added Ag Companies
Value-Added Ag Jobs
Milk Cow Population Growth
Milk Production Growth
Hog Breeding Inventory Growth

South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development

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