Ask any farmer in South Dakota and they’ll tell you that farming is in their blood. Like George Washington said, “I’d rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.”
But agriculture here is about more than just crops; it’s about stewardship of the land, which is why traditional farming methods in South Dakota are gradually giving way to modern farming processes that protect the land and the livestock, make the process of farming an easier and safer one, and promote sustainable practices like organic farming and the use of green energy.
In fact, South Dakota is the nation’s leader in sustainable agriculture, with more than seven million acres of farmland enrolled in the USDA Conservation Stewardship Program– which is about one million more acres than any other state.
With the right education, you can become part of South Dakota’s exceptional advances in sustainable agriculture or lend your talents to the many other programs and initiatives throughout the state that are focused on the preservation and protection of the Rushmore State’s natural resources.
Sustainability Jobs Available in South Dakota with the Right Degree
Sustainability efforts in Sioux Falls are led by a number of outstanding nonprofits like the Northern Prairies Land Trust, which works with private landowners in both South Dakota and Nebraska to preserve the land, the habitat, and the water. Since its creation in 1999, this nonprofit has secured easements on more than 3,000 acres.
The Nature Conservancy in South Dakota is a big name in sustainability here. This organization works to conserve the state’s lands and waters. In fact, it owns and manages more than 13,000 acres within South Dakota, including 11 nature preserves.
Working in sustainability in South Dakota comes with competitive salaries, according to2018 BLS statistics. For example, environmental engineers here earn an average salary of $99,760. Environmental scientists in South Dakota earn an average of $61,250, while urban and regional planners earn $56,780 on average and conservation scientists $62,390.
Master’s in Sustainability Available Through Schools in South Dakota
You’ll find that master’s degrees in sustainability allow you to either focus your current profession on sustainability or pursue an advanced level of study in an area within sustainability.
South Dakota State University’s MS in Agricultural Education is an interdisciplinary program that brings together the College of Education and Human Science and the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences. This program is ideal for students seeking jobs in education and nonprofits and in agricultural leadership positions.
South Dakota State University’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering offers an MS in Civil Engineering, which comes with your choice of concentration in environmental engineering, geotechnical engineering, hydraulic and water resources engineering, structural engineering, or transportation engineering.
Sustainability Bachelor Degree Programs in South Dakota
While undergraduate degrees in sustainability aren’t plentiful in South Dakota, you’ll find the BA/BS in Sustainability through the University of South Dakota, which allows you to choose a focus in either environmental science or human and natural systems.
Online Sustainability Degrees Offered Through Schools in South Dakota
Some sustainability degrees in South Dakota offer outstanding flexibility and convenience, thanks to a fully online curriculum. Ideal for busy professionals and those with geographical restrictions, online sustainability programs feature dynamic online learning platforms and the ability to study whenever and wherever it’s most convenient.
In South Dakota, Black Hills State University offers the fully online MS in Sustainability, while South Dakota State University offers the online MS in Agricultural Education through its Office of Continuing & Distance Education.