Farmers in South Dakota in 2012 planted 4.75 million acres of soybeans, of which they harvested 4.65 million.
It's another big year for the soybeans, which have enjoyed slow-but-steady growth in the state since 1939, when the crop first shows up in statewide crop data. That year, farmers planted 2,000 acres of soybeans. The next year, the acreage doubled, with farmers harvesting about 1,000 acres.
By 1980, the number had risen to nearly 800,000 acres.
Farmer Lewis Bainbridge says he decided to give soybeans a try in the 1980s and has never looked back. He says the decades of growth is good for the state.
More than 60 percent of South Dakota's soybeans are exported, and much of that is to the Asian market.