South Dakota has a big mining industry. Gold is over half its mining income. The Homestake Mine, in Lead, is the largest gold-producing mine in the Western Hemisphere. Silver is also an important mineral. About $500,000 dollars worth of silver is mined every year. All the mines in South Dakota together make about 360,000 troy ounces every year. Mining is so important in South Dakota that it is the state's biggest industry.
Another of South Dakota's key resources is rye. It is first in the Union with the most production of rye. Rye is used in rye beer, flour, some vodkas, and some whiskies. Surprisingly, rye is not South Dakota's main crop. Rye is also used in feed for livestock. Rye is sometimes grown as hay. Rye is a major crop in South Dakota.
The food processing market is also very big in South Dakota. It has 750 processing and manufacturing plants that employ about 10% of the workers. Packing and processing factories in Huron, Rapid City, and Sioux Falls make canned and whole hams, sausages, hot dogs, and fresh meat. Milk and cream flow from creameries in Mitchell, Aberdeen, Sioux Falls, and Rapid City. Rapid City has a flour mill and Watertown has a
poultry processing factory. Food processing is a major part of everyday life in South Dakota.
One of South Dakota's main resources is fertile soil for agriculture, that makes growing crops, like corn, possible. Corn is one of the state's largest crops. In the nation, South Dakota ranks ninth in the production of corn. Much of the corn in grown in the south-eastern part of the state. Most of the corn provides feed for livestock, like cattle and hogs. The corn that is not made into feed goes to market for sale. Corn is so important, that in Mitchell, there is a place called the Corn Palace!
South Dakotahas a large non-electrical machinery manufacturing market. Sioux Falls and Rapid City are centers for construction and farm machinery. Boats, bus bodies, aircraft parts, and truck trailers are made as well. Workers construct surgical instruments in factories in Brookings and Aberdeen. South Dakota also makes hot-air balloons, textiles, leather goods, Sioux pottery, and electronic components. Non-electrical machinery manufacturing plays a big part in South Dakota.
In the north central part of of the state, the soil is very well suited for growing wheat. In the Union, South Dakota ranks sixth in the production of winter and spring wheat. Wheat is used in breads, flour, cakes, cookies, and many more products. It is also made into food for animals. Wheat can be grown all year-round. There are different kinds of wheat, such as spring and winter wheat. Wheat has been an important crop since settlers first arrived in South Dakota.