SIOUX FALLS, SD. – Citizens for a Sustainable Sioux Falls (CSSF), consisting of 57 Sioux Falls businesses and organizations, urged city council members to pause plans to build a $500 million pork processing facility in the city limits.
Fremont, Neb.-based Wholestone Farms is planning to build a 170-acre complex with the capacity to process up to 6 million hogs annually.
“A new hog processing plant in our community could have profound implications on the health, safety, and quality of life of area residents,” CSSF wrote in a letter. “Yet, there has been no serious attempt to study the potential impacts of this project, including odor, traffic, water quality, workforce, and affordable housing.”
The group also said the proposed plant ignores the city’s own 2040 Comprehensive Plan and includes discharging wastewater into the Big Sioux River.
Wholestone did not respond a request for comment, but Luke Minion, chairman of the board of Wholestone Farms, told KELO-TV that farmers that live within 75 miles of Sioux Falls would supply the majority of the hogs for the plant and that it would be investing $45 million in wastewater treatment.
The location of the proposed plant is at the intersection of Interstate 229 and Benson Road in Sioux Falls.
Wholestone Farms, started in 2018, is owned by 200 independent family farmers raising livestock and crops in the upper Midwest. The members of Wholestone manage 400,000 acres of cropland and raise 12 million pigs annually.
Smithfield Foods’ pork processing plant is also located in Sioux Falls and employs 3,700 people in the community.
In 2018, Wholestone purchased a pork processing plant in Fremont, Neb., which included a multi-year agreement to supply pork raw materials to Hormel.