South Dakota Growth Fueled By Energy, Technology Sectors
Although agricultural prices tend to fluctuate with the economy and weather-related conditions, corn and wheat crops play a large part in the economic base of the Coyote State. Three ethanol companies - Poet, VeraSun and Glacial Lakes - are headquartered in the state.
Economic development also is focused on fostering biotechnology; medical, agricultural and information technology; medical device manufacturing, and firearms projects, according to Olson. The Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota School of Medicine and Avera Research Institute are investing in medical research in the eastern part of the state. Agricultural biotechnology continues to sprout out of the traditional agriculture industry. A technology corridor is also developing in the west, with the establishment of the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL), a former Homestake gold mine in the Black Hills, near Lead, that was turned over to the state. Many scientific investigations, specifically astrophysics and physics, require a deep underground environment, shielded from cosmic rays and other background radiation by thousands of feet of rock. Homestake is the deepest mine in the United States, reaching a depth of more than 8,000 feet.