Agriculture is the number one industry in South Dakota. Farmers and ranchers grow soybeans, field corn, wheat, sunflowers, alfalfa, vegetables and other crops. They also raise beef cattle, dairy cattle, pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep and more.
Agriculture: the science of raising livestock and growing crops to produce food and other materials.
What did you have for breakfast today? The odds are good it was grown by an American farmer. You could say farmers have growing down to an exact science — humans have been growing crops for over 12,000 years.
Farmers Market: a place where local growers sell fresh fruits and vegetables from booths and stands. (Sioux Falls, Yankton, and Pierre are just some of the places in South Dakota that have them.)
South Dakota farmers plant more than 4 million acres of corn every year. Corn is used for practically everything, from plastic to making ethanol to fuel cars. It even goes in soda. A bushel of corn (about 56 pounds) sweetens 400 cans of soda. Look in your family’s pantry. How many items have corn on the ingredients label?
Central South Dakota is a sight to see when the sunflower fields are in bloom. Our state produces the second-most sunflower seed and oil in the United States. Native Americans used these plants to treat chest pain and kidney problems.
Each sunflower can grow up to 2,000 seeds. That’s a lot of spitting!
DID YOU KNOW?
Did you know South Dakota is home to The World’s Only Corn Palace? You can find it in Mitchell. The first Corn Palace was built in 1892 as a place for people to gather for fall festivals. Now it hosts events, concerts, and high school and college basketball games for the Mitchell Kernels and Dakota Wesleyan Tigers. Each year, the outside is wrapped in murals made of 12 different colors of corn, as well as other grains and grasses.
Use farm lingo to complete this farming crossword. Put your brain to the test.
What state has the most number of cows per person? South Dakota. Each year, South Dakota ranchers and cattlemen raise about 3.7 million cows. These cows produce beef and milk.
In the 1800s, the grasslands of the Great Plains were perfect for “open-range” grazing. The ranchers would turn their cattle loose in the spring, letting them wander free for the summer and then round them up for the winter months. Nowadays, we call that “the cows getting out.” The invention of barbed wire in 1874 ended open-range grazing and brought about today’s fenced-in pastures.
Picture a farm or ranch. What do you imagine? Tractors? Cows? Corn? Color this picture, cut the shapes into pieces and put the pieces together to make your own farm or ranch. What animals would you add?