Animal Ag

Supporting Our Biggest Customer

Animal agriculture not only plays an important role in growing South Dakota’s economy and rural communities, but pork, poultry, beef & dairy are also hungry for your soybean meal. Animal agriculture represents the number one customer of soybeans, both at home and abroad. Continued growth and success of the livestock industry are critical to the success of the soybean industry.

Animal agriculture is an integral part of South Dakota’s economy. In 2014, South Dakota’s animal agriculture contributed the following to the economy:
• About $9.1 billion in economic output
• $1.4 billion in household earnings
• 36,307 jobs
• $294.4 million in income taxes

South Dakota’s animal agriculture consumed almost 335.7 thousand tons of soybean meal in 2014, placing the state as #23 in the nation in terms of soybean meal consumption.

What is Aquaculture?

Aquaculture is the husbandry of aquatic animals in a controlled environment for the purpose of food production.

  • Roughly two-thirds of the world’s major fish stocks are currently fished at or above capacity, with another ten percent over-harvested to the point where populations will require years to recover.
  • Given that wild fisheries are unable to keep up with the growing global demand, half of all seafood consumed around the world is now farmed. Aquaculture provides a sustainable solution.
  • According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the world will face a seafood shortage of 50-80 million tons by 2030 without aquaculture.
  • Less than 1% of seafood is grown in the United States
  • Over 90% of seafood is imported, and half comes from overseas aquaculture production.
  • It is the 2nd largest natural resource trade deficit (oil is #1) and has an annual trade deficit of over $9 billion.

However, the U.S. has substantial opportunities to grow domestic aquaculture production because of environments conducive to aquaculture. Aquaculture is one of the fastest growing agricultural economies worldwide with a rate of 8% per year. Global aquaculture production is projected to expand to 100 mmt by 2025, along with that growth the need for feed sources will also grow.

Why It’s Important to Soy
With consumption of seafood expected to increase in the next decade, soy-based feeds are an alternative to a flat supply of fish meal currently being used as a protein source in fish diets. The U.S. soybean industry has already been at the forefront of developing new aquaculture feed sources. Soybean meal is seen as an excellent replacement for fishmeal in aqua feeds because of the protein content and sustainability of management practices. Soybean checkoff has been investing dollars into research of increasing soybean inclusion into aquaculture feeds.

For more information, visit or

SD Soybean Checkoff Efforts
The South Dakota soybean checkoff funded research at South Dakota State University aimed at increasing soy rations in aquaculture diets. The research used soybeans as a replacement for fishmeal.

The research developed a converted soybean protein concentrate (SPC) that has characteristics of a high protein level and low anti-nutritional properties. Because this research was so successful, a new company was formed in Brookings, S.D. Prairie AquaTech has designed and validated technology to help meet the increased global demand for fish protein, which has accelerated the growth of the aquaculture industry.

For more information, visit

Over 15,000 South Dakota beef producers raise 3.65 million cattle. Beef production plays an important role in soybean consumption as the South Dakota beef herd consumes an average of 51,000 tons of soybean meal.

    • In South Dakota, nearly 1.5 billion pounds of beef were produced in 2015.
    • In 2012, the South Dakota beef industry provided an estimated total economic impact of $4.48 billion
    • There are over 3.95 million beef cattle in the state and over 15,000 beef producers.
    • The beef industry has a direct, indirect and induced impact of $4.484 billion on the state’s economy.
    • The South Dakota beef herd consumed an estimated 43.6 thousand tons of soybean meal in 2014.

Cattle farmers and ranchers work hard to provide a safe, nutritious and affordable product. Take a virtual tour of the South Dakota beef farm.

Consuming on average over 18,000 tons of soybean mea, the state’s dairy herd plays a significant role in soybean consumption.

  • South Dakota dairy cows produced 2.359 billion pounds of milk in 2015 which is approximately 274 million gallons of milk.
  • The South Dakota dairy herd consumed an estimated 18.4 thousand tons of soybean meal in 2014.
  • Over 94,000 dairy cows call South Dakota home. The economic impact per a dairy cow is considered to be $25,707.
  • There are 255 licensed dairy farm families in South Dakota.
  • South Dakota dairy farms generate $436 million in milk sales annually.

Dairy farming has changed over the years, however dairy farmers’ commitment to care for the land, environment and livestock has not. Take a virtual tour of a South Dakota dairy farm.

As the largest soybean meal customer in South Dakota, pigs count for 61% of the state’s soybean meal usage. On average South Dakota pigs consume 247,000 tons of soybean meal. With more pigs to feed, supporting growth of the pork industry in South Dakota makes perfect sense for South Dakota soybean farmers.

  • In 2015 South Dakota pigs produced 673.5 million pounds of pork.
  • The South Dakota pigs consumed an estimated 214.6 thousand tons of soybean meal in 2014. Pork production leads the state in soybean meal consumption.
  • There are 175,000 sows in South Dakota. These sows produced a pig crop of 3.78 million head in 2014.
  • In 2014, the South Dakota pork industry provided an estimated total economic impact of over $892 million to the state’s economy.

Hog farmers provide the best possible care for their animals. To learn more about what hog farmers do on a daily basis to make sure their pigs are happy and healthy. Take a virtual tour of a South Dakota hog farm.

South Dakota turkeys consume on average 47,000 tons of soybean meal, while egg layers in the state consume 15,000 tons of soybean meal on average.

  • In 2015, South Dakota hens laid 603 million eggs, while turkeys produced 181.5 million pounds of meat in 2015.
  • South Dakota turkeys and hens consumed an estimated combined 54.5 thousand tons of soybean meal in 2014.
  • South Dakota poultry generate over $2.5 million in taxes and over 300 South Dakota jobs.
  • South Dakota raises an average of 5 million turkeys a year.
  • South Dakota farmers produce almost 700 million eggs a year.

No matter if it is eggs or meat; poultry farmers are committed to providing top-notch animal care, adhering to environmental standards and providing a safe product. Take a virtual tour of a South Dakota egg farm.