It's the number one industry in South Dakota and that's not a surprise. According to, the farmers and ranchers sold more than $10 billion worth of agricultural products in 2017 and that continues to grow.

And of course, tourism is another lifeline for the Mt. Rushmore state.

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But who are the largest employers in the state and in the Sioux Empire? Who are the biggest companies around the state?

CareerOneStop lists the top employer in cities around the state and as far as Sioux Falls is concerned, the two largest employers in the state are here. Think medical. Sanford USD Medical Center leads the way with 4,958 employees, while Avera-McKennan is second with 3,574.

How about Brookings? What company has the most employees in Brookings? According to the website that would be Larson Manufacturing with 1,300 folks working there, the fourth largest employer in the state. Checking some of the other great communities around the area, Trail King is Mitchell's largest employer, Yankton's leading employer is Avera Sacred Heart Hospital, while Habek Garage leads the way for Aberdeen.

Interestingly. Alpena has two companies on the Top 50 South Dakota employer list, Lsi Inc. and Jack Links Beef Jerky (hey, I just enjoyed some yesterday).

There are ten companies around the state of South Dakota that employ at least a thousand people and a total of forty that have at least five hundred people working for them. In fact, check out the fifty largest employers in the state here.

Big employers or what I call the 'Mom and Pop' businesses, either way, South Dakota is one great state in which to live and work. It's all about the people and the friendliest are right here. I should know, I've been working and playing here for nearly a half-century.

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