SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A group leading opposition to a new pork plant in northeastern Sioux Falls said it will share financial details for the first time on Tuesday. 

Campaign finance disclosures required by the Sioux Falls city code requires ballot question committees to submit finance disclosure statements within three business days from “the last business day of each month during the 90-day period immediately preceding the election.”   

The last business day in August was August 31 and that date is within 90 days of the November 8 election.  The last business day in July was more than 90 days from the November 8 election. The city clerk’s website will list the campaign finance documents.

City Clerk Tom Greco confirmed to KELOLAND News the reports will be posted online.

Smart Growth Sioux Falls, led by Robert Peterson, formed a municipal ballot question committee in April. Specifically, the ballot measure wants to amend zoning ordinances for Sioux Falls so “no new slaughterhouse may be constructed, or be permitted to operate, within the city limits.” The second section says it would not apply to any existing slaughterhouses already operating in Sioux Falls and it would not prevent them from expanding. 

The petition started in response to Wholestone Farms, which announced in 2021 it purchased 175 acres in Sioux Falls near Interstate 229 and Benson Road for a hog processing plant.

In response to the looming vote, Luke Minion, CEO of Pipestone Holdings and Chairman of the board for Wholestone Farms, announced construction for a “custom slaughterhouse” would start with an aim to be operational before the November vote. 

Minion said Wholestone Farms, which says it is owned by 200 family farms, doesn’t believe the petition should be voted on in the ballot box. The company has launched a new webpage to describe its original plans for a “state-of-the-art” hog processing facility that would bring 1,000 full-time jobs to Sioux Falls. Minion has questioned the money funding the Smart Growth Sioux Falls campaign. 

Peterson told KELOLAND News the campaign has been 100% locally funded and the group will meet all the financial disclosures in accordance with city law. 

POET, a Sioux Falls-based biofuel company, was listed as a business that opposes the Wholestone Foods pork plant. Forum News Service, which owns the Mitchell Republic newspaper and a printing facility in Sioux Falls, reported POET CEO Jeff Broin owns a home in a gated luxury housing development roughly 1.5 miles from the site Wholestone Foods wants to build its pork plant. 

Whether Broin’s name will be tied to any campaign finance documents filed by Smart Growth Sioux Falls will be discovered Tuesday.

Noem opposes petition 

On Thursday, Smart Growth Sioux Falls announced a statement “cheering that widespread support for the initiative may have already halted plans for other meat-packing plants in the city.”

Smart Growth Sioux Falls said it filed a public records request with Governor Kristi Noem’s office to reveal what other slaughterhouse operators may have been working to locate in Sioux Falls. 

In a KELO Radio interview last week, Noem said she opposes the ballot measure because it will scare future businesses away from the state. 

The message of what businesses can and cannot operate is the same concern the South Dakota Pork Producers Council told KELOLAND News in April. 

Glenn Muller, the organization’s executive director, said the city shouldn’t be limiting one industry over the other. 

“That’s very detrimental,” Muller said. “I think it sets a strong precedent that could be used in other businesses that could be very concerning for further economic development of Sioux Falls.” 

Smart Growth Sioux Falls said the fate of new slaughterhouses will be a decision voters will make. 

“Governor Noem’s comments reinforce why it’s so important for local residents to have the final say on whether Sioux Falls is a place to call home or a place to slaughter livestock,” Peterson said in a news release. “Voters know that more slaughterhouses will only discourage future investment, increase odor and truck traffic, and compound the city’s water supply and wastewater challenges.”

Minion encouraged anyone with odor concerns or questions to reach out and view its website for the project. 

On that website under the question about odor, Wholestone Farms says: “The wastewater system will include covered lagoons. It will be designed and maintained with the latest technologies to minimize odor. Livestock delivery trucks will also be scheduled and staged to minimize odor.”