|Program||# of Grants||EDA Funds|
Agriculture has been the life-blood of South Dakota since the first homesteaders arrived on its prairies in the early 19th century. Agriculture is not only the state’s leading industry; it is ingrained in the culture of the state and the identity of its people.
With this long agrarian history, it is only natural that South Dakota is a proven leader in agricultural science innovation. In 2012, EDA invested $1 million to fund the construction of a Technology Center for Rural Enterprise in Brookings which was designed to bridge the gap between South Dakota State University’s (SDSU) research and entrepreneurs who can effectively commercialize those innovations. Completed in 2014, the mixed-use facility is already providing a broad range of commercialization services to small and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs. Focusing on the region’s growing aquaculture and alternative biofuels clusters, the Center provides a reconfigurable physical structure designed to accommodate pilot scale validation and commercialization activity for the creation of new value-added agricultural industry clusters in distressed rural communities and regions.
Private sector partners have already invested close to $3 million to support commercialization efforts of the Center’s two initial projects, Prairie AquaTech and Cyanosun Energy.1 Headed by SDSU researchers, Prairie AquaTech is developing soybean and corn-based products that replace fish meal as an aquaculture food, while Cyanosun Energy is using byproducts and waste products at existing ethanol plants to create new, high-value drop-in fuels and chemicals.
1. http://www.brookingsedc.com/technology-center-for-rural-enterprise.html. Accessed June 2, 2015.