Above: A worker at 3M in Aberdeen packages respirators. 3M's Abderdeen played a crucial role in the worst months of the COVID-19 pandemic, producing more than 70 million masks per month. Photo: 3M
South Dakota’s tax climate ranks among the best in the U.S and has a strong manufacturing economy. The state’s abundant natural resources attract a wide range of agricultural and food processing enterprises. Yet, it is also home to some big names in medical device manufacturing, wood products, packaging and more.
Let’s take a look at the latest facts on South Dakota’s industrial sector and explore the state’s ten largest companies.
According to MNI, compiler of the industrial information that powers IndustrySelect, South Dakota is currently home to 1,188 manufacturers employing 52,858 workers.
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MNI reports Sioux Falls is South Dakota’s largest city based on number of industrial jobs, with 14,287 workers.
Read more: Top Manufacturing Cities in the U.S.
Other top cities in South Dakota include
• Watertown(3,616 jobs)
• Aberdeen (3,391 jobs)
• Yankton (3,364 jobs)
• Rapid City (3,226 jobs)
Minnehaha County is South Dakota’s largest in terms of industrial jobs, home to 17,849 workers. This is followed by Brookings County with 5,006 workers, Codington County (4,205 jobs), Pennington County (4,154 jobs) and Beadle County (3,286 jobs).
The food processing industry is South Dakota’s largest in terms of employment, accounting for 22% of the state’s industrial workforce. This is followed by industrial machinery with 15% and miscellaneous manufacturing with 9%. The fabricated metal products industry account for 8% of South Dakota industrial workers, as does the transportation equipment industry.
MNI reports there are 3,284 executive contacts among South Dakota’s manufacturing companies, including 531 presidents, 511 owners and partners; 258 vice-presidents and 351 sales, marketing and purchasing executives.
Other facts to know about South Dakota manufacturers, based on IndustrySelect’s advanced criteria available to subscribers, include ownership, distribution and other trends. Let’s take a look:
• 2% of South Dakota manufacturers are women-owned
• 8% are publicly owned companies
• 7% import raw materials
• 21% distribute their products internationally.
These trends reveal that South Dakota is less reliant on imported materials compared to the U.S. as a whole (7% versus 11% nationally).
Next, we’ll take a look at the state’s top companies.
|Smithfield Foods, Inc.||3,500||Sioux Falls||SD|
|Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc.||2,100||Dakota Dunes||SD|
|POET, LLC||1,200||Sioux Falls||SD|
|Dakota Provisions, LLC||1,058||Huron||SD|
|Link Snacks, Inc.||900||Alpena||SD|
|StarMark Cabinetry||650||Sioux Falls||SD|
1. Smithfield Foods, Inc. (Sioux Falls, SD)
Employing 3,500 in Sioux Falls, Smithfield Foods, Inc. is South Dakota’s largest industrial employer. Smithfield Foods operates 60 facilities around the globe and 2,500 farms in the U.S., ranking among the largest pork producers in the world.
2. Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. (Dakota Dunes, SD)
Ranking second in the state for number of industrial jobs is Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. Tyson is a global meat processing company, employing 141,000 workers worldwide. The Dakota Dunes location employs 2,100 and operates as the company’s divisional headquarters and produces fresh and preserved beef, as well as various types of pork products and tanned leather.
3. POET, LLC (Sioux Falls, SD)
Home to 1,200 workers in Sioux Falls, POET, LLC has little to do with poetry, but is a major ethanol producer, occupying a 130,000 square-foot facility. Established in 1987, the company distributes its products internationally and is a leader in the energy industry. This Sioux Falls facility serves as the company’s headquarters.
4. 3M Co. (Brookings, SD)
A former Minnesota mining operation founded in 1902, 3M has grown over the past century to produce a wide range of products in the healthcare and consumer sectors. The company’s Brookings plant is the largest of South Dakota’s two 3M locations. Founded in 1971, the facility produces health care products, employing 1,159 and operating out of a 688,690 square foot facility.
5. Dakota Provision, LLC (Huron, SD)
Employing 1,058 in the town of Huron, Dakota Provisions is a major turkey processor, occupying a plant of 150,000 square feet. The plant processes more than eighty million turkeys per year at this 114-acrea site. The company is run by a farmer cooperative of 44 Hutterite farmers.
6. LifeScape (Sioux Falls, SD)
Employing 1,000 employees in Sioux Falls, LifeScape is a contract assembly and packaging operation established in 1958. The company occupies a 40,000 square-foot facility.
7. Link Snacks, Inc. (Alpena, SD)
Established in 1995, Link Snacks produces beef jerky and employs 900 in the town of Alpena.
8. StarkMark Cabinetry (Sioux Falls, SD)
Established in 1978, this Sioux Falls company manufactures wood cabinetry for the entire home. The company employs 650.
9. 3M Co. (Aberdeen, SD)
The smaller of 3M’s South Dakota facilities, this location employs 640 and is the largest manufacturer of N-95 respirators. The location was established in 1974 and emerged as a critical parter against during the worst month of the COVID-19 pandemic, expanding to produce 70 million masks per month during the height of the pandemic.
10. Showplace Cabinetry (Harrisburg, SD)
Rounding out our top ten list is another cabinet builder, Showplace Cabinetry. Occupying 305,000 square feet in the town of Harrisburg, this facility produces wooden cabinetry for residential and light commercial applications. Established in 1999, the company reports annual sales of $95 million-$105 million.
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Editor's note: The article was originally published in August 2021. It has been updated to reflect the latest statistics collected by MNI on the state of South Dakota.