Handling of pig 'byproducts' part of definition of slaughterhouse in Sioux Falls pork plant debate

Wholestone Farms custom butchery is at the center of legal dispute about whether the farmer-owned cooperative can continue construction. Smart Growth Sioux Falls has asked a court to stop city from issuing permits and revoking some existing ones.


By Patrick Lalley, Mitchell Republic (SD)

September 21, 2022


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — Slaughtering and processing pigs involves activities that can only be considered unpleasant to average folks.


It’s the necessary path to food — the pork chops, ham and pulled pork sandwiches — that we mostly take for granted.


But what we don’t see are the byproducts, both edible and nonedible. That’s the organs, blood, hides and bones. Whether you can eat it or not, it all has a market.


Those byproducts are an element of the legal question over whether Wholestone Farms can continue with plans to build a pork processing plant in northeast Sioux Falls. That’s because the definition of “slaughterhouse” in city ordinance includes the words “refining byproducts.”


Wholestone is building a small custom butchery on the site of where they hope to operate a full-scale processing plant. The farmer-owned cooperative, based in Fremont, Neb., believes the butchery meets the slaughterhouse definition. Therefore, they contend, the citywide vote on Nov. 8 on whether to ban new slaughterhouses doesn’t apply to their plant because they started under the current regulations.


Smart Growth Sioux Falls filed for an injunction earlier this month asking a judge to stop the city of Sioux Falls from issuing any new permits for Wholestone — and revoking existing ones — until after the vote. They say state law prohibits the city from taking any action that preempts their petition for the vote, which they filed in July.


Wholestone announced plans for the butcher shop after that filing.


A hearing on that request hasn’t yet been scheduled...


... It’s early in the process so it’s too soon to know what will be refined on site, and what may be shipped to another facility, said Sean Simpson, general counsel and chief strategy officer for Pipestone Holdings.


Pipestone is an agriculture management and research company that is working with Wholestone on the project...