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Published April 29, 2009, 08:04 AM

Ag’s impact grows in S.D.

The economic impact of agriculture is continuing to grow in South Dakota, according to a study by a South Dakota State University associate professor who hopes to bring more attention to the state’s agriculture industry.
SDSU associate professor Gary Taylor’s study, “Economic Impact Of Agriculture On South Dakota,” shows agriculture had a $21.3 billion economic impact on the state, a $2 billion increase from the previous year’s study.

By: Austin Kaus, The Daily Republic

The economic impact of agriculture is continuing to grow in South Dakota, according to a study by a South Dakota State University associate professor who hopes to bring more attention to the state’s agriculture industry.

SDSU associate professor Gary Taylor’s study, “Economic Impact Of Agriculture On South Dakota,” shows agriculture had a $21.3 billion economic impact on the state, a $2 billion increase from the previous year’s study.

With agriculture being 36.3 percent of South Dakota’s total economic activity, Taylor wants the study to increase awareness about the role ag plays with South Dakota’s economy.

“Certainly, we can see that agriculture is a substantial contributor,” Taylor said. “I would just like to see that kind of information included in the decision-making process as we look at where … we need to allocate our tax dollars here in the state.”

The findings are based on 2006 information. The increase is credited to a rise in commodity prices and expansion of the state’s ethanol industry.

While the unpredictability of the market makes it difficult to predict the future of ethanol production, Taylor is optimistic that future studies will be able to show progress in other alternative-energy ideas.

“We’re going to have to wait and see how things are going to shake out and whether or not we’re going to see the type of ethanol production increases that we’ve seen in the past,” Taylor said. “You would certainly like to think that the biodiesel or the cellulosic ethanol (industries) would start to develop, but those technologies still aren’t ready for commercial scale yet.”

Taylor’s findings state that agriculture’s direct and indirect business taxes generate $645 million in annual tax revenues — approximately half of the state’s total tax collections — while the industry employs 173,101 South Dakota residents, or more than 40 percent of all jobs in the South Dakota.

The findings also show that each dollar generated by production agriculture creates $1.374 worth of economic activity, the highest economic impact or “multiplier” of any industry in the state.

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