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Dakotas need a 'more circular ag economy'

Dakotas need a 'more circular ag economy'

South Dakota and North Dakota ought to attract more food processing, says an SDSU agriculture and natural resources program director

South Dakota and North Dakota need a more circular agriculture economy, says Alvaro Garcia, South Dakota State University Extension agriculture and natural resources program director.

Both states are ag powerhouses, a termed used by a USDA analyst, in describing the 55% and 70% growth in ag product value in South Dakota and North Dakota, respectively, from 2007 to 2012.

"Both North Dakota and South Dakota's economies strongly depend on agriculture," Garcia says. "Their share of the gross state product derived from agriculture and food manufacturing puts them first and second, respectively among all U.S. states according to the 2012 census."

Sugarbeets are harvested in North Dakota and trucked directly to local processing plant.

But agricultural production and food manufacturing combined, constituted 11.9% of the gross state product for South Dakota and 12.1% for North Dakota. When agricultural production is considered on its own, it accounted for 10.5% of the South Dakota's gross state product. This figure puts South Dakota again as number two in the U.S. North Dakota was number one with 10.6%..

"This should be viewed as an outstanding opportunity for food industry investors; some have already realized this! By adding value to agricultural outputs South Dakota would close the loop and enter into a more circular economy," Garcia says. "This would impact job creation, economic competitiveness, resource savings, and waste reductions."

In South Dakota, agriculture is responsible for roughly 20% of all jobs created, the highest individual job-creation category. Doubling food manufacturing internally will put the state in the top 10 in the country.

States with a greater balance between food production and manufacturing are Iowa, Nebraska, and Idaho. In 2012 these three states ranked respectively 3rd, 4th, and 5th in gross state product derived from food production, and 2nd, 5th, and 7th in gross state product derived from food manufacturing.

"South Dakota needs a more circular agricultural economy, utilizing internally nearly everything produced in the state" Garcia says. "The aim should be to manage agriculture resources more efficiently throughout their life cycle. Using them more efficiently will bring new growth and job opportunities within South Dakota and will result in sustainable, inclusive growth."

Source: SDSU Extension Service

TAGS: USDA
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