Agriculture producers across South Dakota say the defeat of a proposed ban on new slaughterhouse plants in Sioux Falls is a big win for the industry and will create more options for local farmers to market their livestock.
The majority of voters in the state’s largest city rejected the ban earlier this month. It allows Wholestone, a Nebraska-based pork producer, to continue with its plan to open a $500 million plant in northeastern Sioux Falls.
“More competition is welcomed within the industry, no matter if it’s on the growing end of the packer end, so we welcome the opportunity for many people,” pork producer Adam Krause told KELO-TV.
The group Smart Growth Sioux Falls has been fighting Wholestone’s plan since early this year, claiming that the plant would negatively affect the city’s water and air quality and impact traffic and affordable housing.
Wholestone has countered those concerns by saying that the plant will be built with modern technology and is located in an industrial area.
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The company said it would start with one shift of 1,000 employees when construction is finished in 2025 and add another shift of 1,000 to 1,200 employees later. Each shift would process about 3 million hogs per year.
“This was bigger than just pig farmers, this was bigger than agriculture as a whole. This set a very dangerous precedent for the city and surrounding cities of Sioux Falls just because if a local locker plant or small custom locker wanted to build in Sioux Falls, if this passed, they wouldn’t be able to,” said Krause.
Residents chose to keep growing the pork processing industry in Sioux Falls by voting 52% against the ban and 48% in favor of it.