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SD Agriculture Dept. Downshifts Industry from “Number One” to “Major Contributor”

I said "number among..." Lucas Lentsch (orig. photo by Sean Ryan, AP/Mitchell Daily Republic)
Whoa, whoa, whoa—I said “number among…” Lucas Lentsch (orig. photo by Sean Ryan, AP/Mitchell Daily Republic)

The billions of dollars the Department of Agriculture credits to agriculture are magic math. South Dakota’s entire GDP is only $45.9 billion. Agriculture cannot generate 55% of our economic output all by itself. But at least the Department is now admitting that, as I’ve noted in previous economic analyses, agriculture is not a bigger sector of the state’s economy than finance and government. As recently as October 29, the Department of Agriculture slapped this boilerplate on nearly every press release:

Agriculture is South Dakota’s No. 1 industry, generating $25.6 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 115,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s mission is to promote, protect, preserve and improve this industry for today and tomorrow. Visit us online at http://sdda.sd.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter [South Dakota Department of Agriculture, press release, 2015.10.29].

The next week, the Department of Agriculture quietly revised that boilerplate:

Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota’s economy, generating $25.6 billion in annual economic activity and employing over 115,000 South Dakotans. The South Dakota Department of Agriculture’s mission is to promote, protect, preserve and improve this industry for today and tomorrow. Visit us online at http://sdda.sd.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter [South Dakota Department of Agriculture, press release, 2015.11.06].

Now let’s see if we can get the Department to revise that dollar figure down to a humbler, more accurate statement of direct economic activity.

6 Comments

  1. mike from iowa 2015-12-18

    Lentsch looks like a younger Larry Pressler with a recidivist hairline.

  2. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-18

    Good eye, Mike! I hadn’t made the Pressler connection.

    Remember, we like Pressler. He’s shown that, even late in life, Republicans can recover and become Independents. :-)

  3. moses 2015-12-18

    C.H. you don’t honestly believe that.

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-19

    Moses, I do believe Pressler made a positive choice in turning from Republican to Independent, just as he did in voting for President Obama.

  5. Les 2015-12-19

    That’s little different than saying President Clinton made a positive choice with Lewinsky, Cory. Possibly he did.

    ” Lewinsky for President, She’ll get the job done!”

  6. leslie 2015-12-21

    we have an ag college, a dept. of ag, too.

    number one is now the mysterious international financial industry. department of $? NSU?

Comments are closed.