Serving 9 Counties, 80 Cities, 162 Townships, 32 School Districts, 1 Tribal Nation, and Over 117,000 People
Southwest Regional Development Commission (SRDC)’s region is comprised of the nine counties in the southwest corner of Minnesota, bordering both South Dakota and Iowa. These counties include Cottonwood, Jackson, Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, and Rock. Our region is characterized by flat, windy prairie and rural communities with a population of just over 117,000 people spread over an area of 5,911 square miles.
Our region has strong agricultural and manufacturing industries. Over two percent of the U.S. corn and soybean crops are grown in Southwest Minnesota. The region uniquely lies within three water basins, creating distinct soil and water characteristics and leading to some of the top bushel per acre yields in the state. Turkey production in the region helped the state of Minnesota become the largest single producer of turkeys in the nation. Pork processing is also one of the region’s leading industries, with most of the livestock raised within 50 miles of the processing facility.
A Unique Landscape
A unique feature of the region is Buffalo Ridge, a large glacial ridge that the highest part of the larger Coteau des Prairies. Buffalo Ridge geographically splits the region from the west to east, running through Lincoln, Pipestone, Murray, Nobles, and Rock counties. The ridge features an expanse of rolling hills, with its highest point of elevation at 1,995 feet above sea level, the fourth highest point in Minnesota. This unique landscape is home to the largest amount of wind turbines in the state. Wind energy production in the region, coupled with bio-fuels production and solar energy farms, has made the region a net exporter of energy since the early 2000s. For a region without deposits of fossil fuels or access to large hydro-electric opportunities, the region is still well known for its renewable energy production.
Cooperation and Collaboration
Our region is known throughout Minnesota for the spirit of cooperation and collaboration between its local units of government and non-profits. Home to many joint powers and regional agencies, including Southwest Health and Human Services, the Southwest Private Industry Council, the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, the Southwest Minnesota Arts Council, the Rural Minnesota Energy Board, Southwest Solid Waste Commission, and numerous other cooperative ventures around water and environmental issues, SRDC is fortunate to have strong partnerships and collaborative initiatives with regional leaders. Through partnerships and the leveraging of resources, the region has seen strong advancement of community, economic, energy, transportation, and land use projects and initiatives.