COUNTERPOINT: Vote ‘no’ - Proposed Sioux Falls slaughterhouse won’t stink, boost jobs and family farms
Guest op-ed by Christine Erickson
There are so many reasons to vote against the Slaughterhouse Ordinance, it’s impossible to fit them all in this column. But for the sake of Sioux Falls’ future, here are a few that voters should consider before they head to the polls on Nov. 8.
Wholestone Farms’ clean, modern pork processing plant will be GOOD for Sioux Falls. Voting NO on the Ordinance means saying YES to creating $500 million in new construction in Sioux Falls – the biggest project in our history – YES to 1,000 new jobs, YES to injecting millions in annual revenue for our local shops and stores and YES to millions more in corporate taxes into our city, to keep taxes down and pay for new schools, parks and emergency personnel. We can’t afford to say NO to this opportunity – this is a once in a generation windfall for our city.
The claims about odor are empty scare tactics and completely untrue. The supporters of the ordinance have no experience with a modern pork processing facility and ignore the reality that Wholestone Farms is investing $50 million into the world’s best odor reduction technology for the Sioux Falls plant. This clean new plant will exceed all air and wastewater emissions guidelines.
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City leaders have toured Wholestone’s Fremont plant and experienced the difference firsthand. So ignore the silly commercials and bogus claims. We can be confident it will not smell.
This ordinance is opposed by many highly respected business and agriculture organizations, including the Greater Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce, the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, South Dakota Retailers, the South Dakota Pork Producers Council, South Dakota Soybean Association, South Dakota Agri-Business Association, South Dakota Trucking Association and everyone who supports free enterprise and is against excessive regulation.
Passing this ordinance would hurt our ability to attract new companies to Sioux Falls. The local farm family owners of Wholestone Farms have worked for four years to bring a clean, modern pork processing plant to Sioux Falls. They’ve met and exceeded existing ordinances and zoning laws. Now the Slaughterhouse Ordinance intends to change those rules four years into the process. Our chamber president says allowing this is bad for the economic future of our city and would have a chilling effect on recruiting new businesses to locate here.
The new plant supports the future of farming in South Dakota. Voting no on the Slaughterhouse Ordinance will strengthen agriculture, South Dakota’s number one industry. It’ll protect farming’s next generation – the children who’ll one day run our family farms.
Sioux Falls’ new pork plant will be owned by 220-plus local American farm families. It will connect livestock producers with locally owned processing, all within our state’s borders, to keep jobs and profits at home. And it will help secure your family’s access to safe, affordable and locally grown food.
Passing this ordinance sets a terrible precedent for economic growth. Passing an ordinance like this opens the door for special interest groups to shut down economic development in any industry they choose to oppose and for any reason they choose – including building in a zoned industrial location that’s too close to the wrong person’s home.
I urge everyone who cares about improving our community to join me in voting NO on the Slaughterhouse Ordinance to say YES to the future of Sioux Falls.
Christine Erickson chairs Sioux Falls Open for Business, is president of the South Dakota Trucking Association and is a former Sioux Falls city councilor and state lawmaker.