South Dakota

South Dakota Trade Facts​

  • In 2018, South Dakota exported $1.4 billion of Made-in-America goods to the world. In 2016, exports from South Dakota supported an estimated 17 thousand jobs.

Exports from South Dakota and Jobs

  • South Dakota was the 48th largest state exporter of goods in 2018.
  • In 2018, South Dakota goods exports were $1.4 billion, a decrease of 13 percent ($217 million) from its export level in 2008.
  • Goods exports accounted for 2.8 percent of South Dakota GDP in 2018.
  • South Dakota goods exports in 2016 (latest year available) supported an estimated 17 thousand jobs. Nationally, jobs supported by goods exports pay up to an estimated 18 percent above the national average.

Made-in-America Manufacturing Exports from South Dakota and Jobs

  • In 2018, South Dakota exported $1.3 billion of manufactured products.
  • South Dakota exports of manufactured products supported an estimated 6,950 jobs in 2016.
  • The state's largest manufacturing export category is food & kindred products, which accounted for $419 million of South Dakota's total goods exports in 2018.
  • Other top manufacturing exports are machinery, except electrical ($259 million), transportation equipment ($127 million), beverages & tobacco products ($104 million), and chemicals ($96 million).

Exports Sustain Thousands of South Dakota Businesses many of which are SMEs

  • A total of 880 companies exported from South Dakota locations in 2016 (latest year available). Of those, 669 (76 percent) were small and medium sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Small and medium-sized firms generated NA percent of South Dakota's total exports of goods in 2016.

South Dakota Depends on World Markets

  • The state’s largest market was Canada. South Dakota exported $586 million in goods to Canada in 2018, representing 41 percent of the state’s total goods exports.
  • Canada was followed by Mexico ($339 million), Japan ($66 million), China ($48 million), and Germany ($47 million).
  • South Dakota’s exports (2018 value) to major world areas included:


2018 Value


$1.1 billion


$238 million

European Union

$162 million

South/Central America and Caribbean

$38 million

Sub-Saharan Africa

$8 million

  • 70 percent of South Dakota’s exports ($1.0 billion) go to current FTA partners.  

Agriculture in South Dakota depends on Exports

  • South Dakota is the country’s 14th largest agricultural exporting state, shipping $3.6 billion in domestic agricultural exports abroad in 2017 (latest data available according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).1

  • Top Agricultural exports (2017 value) were:


2017 Value

 2017 State Rank


$1.2 billion



$427 million


feeds and other feed grains

$351 million


beef and veal

$281 million



$236 million



International Investment Creates Jobs in South Dakota

  • In 2015 (latest data available), foreign-controlled companies employed 12,100 South Dakota workers. Major sources of foreign investment in South Dakota included Canada, the United Kingdom and France.
  • Foreign investment in South Dakota was responsible for 3.5 percent of the state's total private-industry employment in 2015.

South Dakota’s Major Metropolitan Areas Benefit from Exporting

  • In 2017 (latest data available), the following metropolitan areas in South Dakota recorded goods exports: Sioux City ($1.3 billion), Sioux Falls ($386.8 million), Rapid City ($21.8 million).


1Estimates of state exports of agricultural products by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and goods exports by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce are based on different methodologies and are not directly comparable.