South Dakota sets its sights on disrupting the dairy industry

Thursday, November 15, 2018

CHICAGO — Interstate 29 is 745.5 miles of highway in the Midwest. It starts at the Canadian border in Pembina, N.D., and ends in Kansas City, running through both Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. Along the route there are many farms and manufacturing companies, but it’s in South Dakota — with the state’s wide-open spaces and financial resources — where dairy farms are growing in herd count, new processing plants are being built and other companies are increasing capacity through expansion.

“The state currently has about 122,000 milking cows,” said Bryan Sanderson, business development director, Department of Agriculture, Pierre, S.D. “In a year from now that number will be 140,000 cows on just shy of 200 farming operations.”

This translates to 10 million lbs becoming 15 million lbs of milk being processed daily. Almost all of the milk is processed at nine in-state manufacturing plants, with a small amount going to plants located just over the southern border in Iowa.

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