South Dacola quite aptly notes the strange reaction of Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken to the announcement of a huge economic development project in Sioux Falls.
Wholestone Farms, a producer-owned pork company that slaughters pigs in Fremont, Nebraska, says it’s going to spend over $500 million to build a new bacon factory in Sioux Falls and create over a thousand jobs:
Wholestone Farms, an entity owned by regional pork producers, plans to build a more than $500 million pork processing facility in Sioux Falls.
Wholestone has exercised an option to purchase 170 acres in northeast Sioux Falls near Benson Road and Interstate 229, near the new Gage Brothers Concrete Materials location.
Assuming necessary permits are granted and construction stays on track, the facility would open in 2025 and initially employ more than 1,100 people.
“Wholestone is made up of roughly 200 family farms, pork producers, farmers throughout the Midwest, and 70 of those owners live within a 50-mile radius of Sioux Falls,” Wholestone CEO Scott Webb said.
“We need another plant. The Sioux Falls plant is a more ideal location for the ownership group” [Jodi Schwan, “Pork Producer-Owned Company Plans to Build $500M Sioux Falls Facility,” Sioux Falls Business, 2021.06.14].
Usually when some big investor makes such an announcement, South Dakota elected officials fall all over themselves to welcome and claim credit for the economic expansion. But Mayor Paul TenHaken came out and poured tepid water on the proposal:
“To be frank [oh! get it? pork factory? franks?!? hilarious!], we are facing historic housing challenges right now,” Mayor Paul TenHaken said in a statement provided to SiouxFalls.Business.
“In this unique environment, our employers are also facing critical hiring challenges as we have strategically added thousands of new jobs in recent months. Under normal circumstances, the addition of 1,000 more jobs would be an enormous win for the city of Sioux Falls, yet these are not normal circumstances. While I have been and continue to be supportive of value-added agriculture investments in our region, I have a duty to note the challenges currently being faced within our community at this time” [Schwan, 2021.06.14].
South Dacola finds Mayor Paul’s lack of enthusiasm for big business shocking:
Instead trying to help this plant find workers, it seems Paul is trying to defend his welfare queens from Communist China, international companies like Amazon (who pay no federal taxes) and South Korean investors. What is Paul afraid of? That this locally owned business will pay better than his foreign welfare friends? Or that more immigrants will come to town to work there? How can you brag about growth then poo poo it when local producers are doing it and not asking for handouts?
…While having another packing plant in Sioux Falls may not be ideal, it just might be so successful it will close down the communist owned stinkhole downtown. Still baffled by Paul’s resistance [Scott Ehrisman, “Locally Owned Pork Producers Building Plant Without Government Handouts?” South Dacola, 2021.06.15].
Ehrisman refers here to Chinese-owned Smithfield Foods, Sioux Falls’s current big meat employer. I’d sure hate to think that Mayor Paul is succumbing to the bunker mentality and trying discourage competition in the bustling Sioux Falls marketplace.