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2015 in Review

A message from Governor Dennis Daugaard

Note: This letter is from the 2015 Governor's Office of Economic Development's Annual Report, which was published this month.

Anyone involved in Economic Development - whether on the local, state or national level – will tell you that economic development doesn’t happen overnight. The hard work of our economic development professionals across the state – representing our cities and towns, counties, and state – delivered a number of notable accomplishments in 2015. I would like to highlight a few of those accomplishments.

We had several projects of significance come to fruition in 2015. Ag Processing, Inc., the world’s largest cooperative soybean processing company, announced plans to construct their first South Dakota soybean processing plant in Aberdeen – the largest single capital investment in that company’s history.

In Sioux Falls, our state’s first megasite, Foundation Park, will open up over 800 acres of land for future industrial development. At Ellsworth Air Force Base, Advance Health established a new operation with plans to create more than 200 new jobs throughout the region in the next three years.

And in Dell Rapids, thanks to proactive planning by local economic development officials and financial assistance from GOED’s local infrastructure grant program, a new industrial park will welcome its first tenant in 2016 – Midwest Fresh Logistics.

The tradeshows we attend continue to bear fruit as well. In 2015, South Dakota welcomed Lehigh Defense, an ammunition and bullet manufacturer that established operations in Rapid City. GOED initially made contact with Lehigh Defense at the SHOT trade show held annually in Las Vegas.

In addition to new projects in 2015, South Dakota manufacturers made $409.8 million in capital investments. That’s the fourth-highest capital investment since state government began surveying manufacturers in the 1950s. And it is also fantastic news for the state. Not only are our businesses investing in themselves, they are investing in South Dakota as well. This bodes well for the future of our state’s economy.

Speaking of South Dakota companies, in 2015, GOED staff made a record-breaking 487 Retention & Expansion visits to companies across the state. These visits are a great opportunity for us to learn more about the incredible things our in-state companies are doing, and connect them with resources to help them grow and prosper.

One concern that many companies have – both on a state and national level – is workforce recruitment. That’s why, in 2015, the GOED worked hard with the Department of Labor and Regulation to launch the state’s new workforce development campaign, South Dakota: You Can Live Here.

The campaign has a large digital presence in select markets and features spotlight videos, plays on trending topics, driving viewers to the website The campaign highlights the many positive aspects of working, living, and making your life in South Dakota. Even more importantly, it links those viewers directly to available job listings throughout the state.

The GOED also launched the Real Wage Calculator in 2015, which is another important tool we can use to promote South Dakota. The calculator takes cost-of-living data as well as taxes and payroll information to compare the purchasing power in South Dakota and metropolitan areas across the country. It will give job seekers a much better perception of how far their money will go in South Dakota.

We have a number of great things happening in South Dakota, and even more excitement is on the horizon.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard

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Want to get your copy of the 2015 GOED annual report in your hands? Email Jen Lambley at to request a copy to be mailed out to you.

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This is a publication of the Governor's Office of Economic Development. Commissioner-Pat Costello; Deputy Commissioner-Aaron Scheibe; Marketing and Public Relations Director-Mary Lehecka Nelson; Editor and Designer-Jennifer Lambley. © Copyright 2016