South Dakota and Landsat
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Few States derive as much of their social and economic well-being from the land as South Dakota. Agriculture is the State’s primary industry, likely because the fertile soil of eastern South Dakota consistently produces some of the largest corn and soybean yields in the United States. The State is also a top producer of spring wheat, flaxseed, hay, oats, rye, and sunflower seeds.
South Dakota is also famed for its hunting and fishing. Tens of thousands of visitors each year descend upon its rolling fields and grasslands to hunt the State bird, the Phasianus colchicus (Linnaeus, 1758) (ring-necked pheasant), or the waterfowl of northeastern South Dakota’s prairie pothole region. Visitors to western South Dakota marvel at the beauty of the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, and Badlands National Park.
Mining and energy are also important to South Dakota. Much of the corn not used in food production or fed to livestock is used to make ethanol at one of several plants in the State, and hydroelectric power from the Missouri River provides the bulk of the energy used by its 800,000 residents. All but one of South Dakota’s gold mines have ceased operations, but mining continues for mica, construction sand and gravel, crushed stone, and more. Data from the USGS Landsat program, archived at the USGS EROS Center just outside Sioux Falls, South Dakota, has long been a boon to the monitoring, mapping, and management of the State’s land resources.
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