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aerial view of the James River Valley

Every Acre Counts

production practices for greater profitability

South Dakota is the land of infinite variety, from our fertile croplands in the east, to our prairies in the central and west, to the granite outcroppings of the forested Black Hills. The primary focus for this project will be marginal lands impacted by wet conditions, saline or sodic soils, and eroded areas such as hilltops.

Millions of acres of cropland across South Dakota are impacted by these challenges, with over 7 million acres impacted by saline conditions alone. The financial burden of attempting to produce crops in these marginal areas can be devastating to a producer's bottom line. And, together, we want to change this.

— Barry H. Dunn, SDSU President

Area of Focus

South Dakota map of counties

Four regions of South Dakota have been selected to kick start the project:

  • Moody, Lake and Minnehaha counties
  • Brown, Spink, Clark and Day counties
  • Edmunds, Potter, Faulk and Walworth counties 
  • Aurora, Brule, Buffalo and Jerauld counties

SDSU Extension will work with selected landowners in each of the four regions and their crop and financial consultants to precisely quantify the technical metrics of their existing operations and generate an economic analysis report. That information will then be incorporated into a profit mapping software to pinpoint and quantify marginal acres. In addition, federal, state and local habitat and conservation programs will be used to leverage funding.


The goal of this project is to improve the profitability, diversity, and ecosystem benefits of agriculture by using precision technologies to empower producers to help make informed management decisions for every acre of their operations.


Expected outcomes include better information available to producers to increase their return on investment and enhanced land management approaches that benefit the sustainability of land, water, and all natural resources.


  • Increased farm profitability.
  • Working lands flexibility.
  • Improved soil health.
  • Improved water quality.
  • Increased wildlife habitat.
  • Enhanced student learning. (Wildlife, Agronomy, Engineering, Economics)
  • Increased stakeholder confidence.

Let's Work Together

Do you live in one of the identified counties and have issues with marginal lands?

Contact Anthony Bly

Contact Us

If you have any additional questions or are interested in becoming a corporate partner, contact Anthony Bly or Matthew Diersen