US – Wholestone Farm’s plan of constructing a US$500 million pork plant in Sioux Falls that would employ approximately 1100 workers, has been put on pause by a US judge.

In September, Smart Growth Sioux Falls, a grassroots group of area residents that opposes new slaughterhouses in the city, filed a civil complaint against Wholestone Farms.

The group requested the court to deny the pork processor any permits needed to move forward with any planned project before the November 2022 election.

In June, the processor announced plans to construct a new pork slaughtering and processing facility in Sioux Falls, which will stretch across 170 acres and process up to 6 million hogs annually.

According to Smart Growth, the city “preemptively” issued Wholestone a permit of occupancy for its butcher shop, which the company had also put in the blueprint for its business in the city.

In April 2022, another group of 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 over community health and safety reasons.

However, 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 US$45 million in wastewater treatment.

In the ruling, the judge revoked all Wholestone’s permits approved by the city until Sioux Falls residents vote on the matter in November.

“We are pleased that the court decided in favor of the people of Sioux Falls, who have every right to determine whether they want new slaughterhouses as their neighbors,” Smart Growth said after the judge’s verdict.

If approved, the ballot question would prevent the construction and operation of new slaughterhouses within city limits, although existing slaughterhouses would be allowed to expand.

This will lead to Wholestone’s plan to build a “custom slaughterhouse” on the proposed site of the plant before the vote takes place.

Wholestone Farms which was started in 2018, and is owned by 200 independent family farmers raising livestock and crops in the upper Midwest, was going to give competition to Smithfield Foods’ pork processing plant, also located in Sioux Falls and employs 3,700 people in the community.

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