Hughes County one of state’s 10 least agriculturally reliant counties in S.D.

Farm Forum

Hughes County is one of the 10 least ag-reliant counties in South Dakota, a new study for the state Department of Agriculture finds, while neighboring Sully County is No. 3 on the list of counties that depend most on farming.

Hughes County ranks ninth on the list of the 10 counties least reliant upon agriculture and ag-related industries.

Those were among the findings in a new 2014 South Dakota Ag Economic Contribution Study prepared for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture by Decision Innovation Solutions with assistance from South Dakota State University and the National Agricultural Statistics Service. The report was released Tuesday.

Deep inside the report was a list of the 10 South Dakota counties most reliant on agriculture. In order, they are Jerauld, Faulk, Sully, Spink, Clark, McPherson, Miner, Campbell, Hamlin and Grant.

The list of South Dakota counties least reliant on agriculture is led by four Black Hills counties and the Sioux Falls area – Pennington, Lawrence, Custer, Meade and Minnehaha, in that order. Rounding out that top 10 of the least ag-dependent counties in the state are Shannon County, which is home to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, at No. 6; Lincoln, extending south from Sioux Falls, at No. 7; and then Codington, Hughes and Yankton.

Hughes County’s reliable employment in state government and the recreation industry is probably the reason the county is less reliant on agriculture than most other counties in the state.

Family guys

By type of operation, South Dakota echoes the U.S. as a whole in that family and individual operations account for far and away the largest share of farms. South Dakota had 2,150 partnerships; 651 institutional, research, reservation or other farms; 27,544 family and inwividual farms; 1,534 family-held corporations; and 110 corporate farms, excluding those held by families. That is similar to the way operation types sort out nationally.

That adds up to 31,989 South Dakota farms in 2012, the year those data come from. South Dakota had 31,169 farms in 2007; 31,736 farms in 2002; and 33,191 farms in 1997.