SIOUX FALLS, SD. — Smart Growth Sioux Falls filed a civil complaint against Wholestone Farms, requesting that the court deny the pork processor any permits needed to move forward with its proposed processing plant and butcher shop in Sioux Falls prior to the November 2022 election. 

The group’s complaint follows its recent petition signed by over 10,000 residents and its campaign that raised $93,825 in opposition of plant development within Sioux Falls city limits.

“We think Wholestone is undermining the law and ignoring the will of the people — and, unfortunately, the city of Sioux Falls is complicit,” said Brendan Johnson, Smart Growth Sioux Falls legal counsel, speaking on the group’s recent complaint. “We believe the law bars the city from preempting the ballot measure and effectively prohibits Wholestone from proceeding until the matter is decided by voters.”

On Sept. 6, the group filed its first campaign finance disclosure documents, which were originally reported by KELO-TV

The report revealed that biofuel company POET and JDS Industries both gave $25,000, Cellular Only 41st and Elegethun Capital each gave $10,000, and GL Management gave $5,000. In addition, individuals donated to the campaign, including POET Chief Executive Officer Jeff Broin’s brother, Tom Broin, who owns a home less than two miles from the site of Wholestone’s proposed plant. Tom gave $10,000.

Smart Growth Sioux Falls also reported spending of $83,797.57 for categories such as advertising, consulting, printing and salaries.

In June 2021, Wholestone announced its plans to build the projected $500 million plant just off Interstate 229 and Benson Road. The facility would stretch across 170 acres and process up to 6 million hogs annually.

However, in April 2022, Citizens for a Sustainable Sioux Falls (CSSF), which consists of nearly 60 Sioux Falls businesses and organizations, urged city council members to pause Wholestone’s building plans for community health and safety reasons.

Luke Minion, chairman of the board of Wholestone Farms, told KELO-TV  in April that farmers who 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.

During July Wholestone announced its plans to construct and operate a custom butcher shop by October 2022.

“WSF will harvest and process hogs raised by Wholestone farmers into the pork cuts per customer requests,” Minion said in an email to MEAT+POULTRY in July.  “We believe this is a great example of Wholestone, a local farmer owned business, that is a great addition for our community.”