Sustainability group asks for pause on pork project in Sioux Falls

Source: Keloland Media Group

The future of a section of land in northeast Sioux Falls just east of Interstate 229 is in dispute. The plan is to build a facility for harvesting and processing pork, but a group has organized and sent a letter to the mayor and city council asking for a pause on the project.

Wholestone Farms owns land in northeast Sioux Falls by the city’s water reclamation plant and Gage Brothers Concrete Products. It wants this land to have a pork facility that aims to eventually employ roughly 2,000 people in full-time positions. Citizens for a Sustainable Sioux Falls wants this project to be on hold until more can be learned. The earliest the facility could open would be 2026.

“Farmers that live within 75 miles of Sioux Falls would be the majority of the supply,” said Luke Minion, chairman of the board for Wholestone Farms. “This is important; this project is about long-term agriculture and economic benefit from agriculture.”

“The Wholestone Farms project has a lot of potentially disastrous implications for the city of Sioux Falls,” said Rob Peterson, executive director for Citizens for a Sustainable Sioux Falls. “And not enough study has been done on those implications to move forward with this project as is in this location.”

Peterson says odor, water contamination and traffic congestion are concerns. Minion says people driving by on the interstate or a mile away would not be able to smell it.

“Our wastewater treatment investment is $45 million, and we’re doing all of that to again meet or exceed all of the requirements,” Minion said. “So both for wastewater and for odor, I want to be clear, we’re exceeding requirements set by all authorities.”

“We want to make sure that Sioux Falls remains a center for commerce, culture and education and technology, and we see this plant in this location as a barrier to that,” Peterson said.

Peterson says the location is the big issue.

“We’re not opposed to the project itself; we’re opposed to the location,” Peterson said.

“It’s a positive for the community, and we’re going to do everything we can to be available to talk with people that want to learn more about our approach,” Minion said.