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Wholestone Farms Will Need Immigrants to Make Its Bacon

Governor Noem may now be campaigning for a second slaughterhouse in Sioux Falls, but she hasn’t said where Wholestone Farms will find 1,000 new workers to chop its pigs. All sorts of Sioux Falls businesses (not to mention the Penitentiary) are struggling to fill their labor needs:

In [its] post announcing the temporary closure, All Day Cafe reiterated it was “urgently hiring cooks.”

That happened after a few cooks were out due to hospitalizations and emergency situations, All Day Cafe Manager Nikki Schroder said. The restaurant was forced to have servers transition to the kitchen after only having two cooks on the line. To run smoothly, about five cooks are needed, Schroder said.

…Showplace Cabinetry, which employs roughly 700 people, is facing shortages in hiring. Human resources manager Garet Wyatt said the business is looking to hire anywhere from 20 to 30 people at entry-level jobs [Trent Abrego, “‘Being Short Staffed Is the New Pandemic’: Sioux Falls Businesses Struggling to Fill Open Positions,” Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 2022.09.01].

The South Dakota Pork Producers, who obviously support the proposed slaughterhouse, recognizes that the only place Wholestone will find its workforce is the same place the existing Smithfield Foods slaughterhouse finds its workforce: immigrants! The Pork Producers will host a press conference in their State Fair tent tomorrow (Friday, September 2) in Huron with a bunch of industrial ag advocates and the American Business Immigration Coalition to call for immigration reform to bring more foreigners to South Dakota to make our food:

On Friday, September 2, at 9am CST, the American Business Immigration Coalition Action (ABIC Action), the South Dakota Dairy Producers, the South Dakota Farm Bureau, the Edge Dairy Cooperative, the South Dakota Pork Producers Council, AmericanHort and the International Fresh Produce Association will participate in a press event and roundtable entitled “Lower Food Prices, Keep Shelves Stocked: Common Sense Solutions to South Dakota’s Farm Labor Shortage.”

With Senate negotiations ongoing, the event will call attention to the urgency of fixing South Dakota’s and the nation’s farm labor shortage by passing new Senate agriculture workforce solutions.


  • Marv Post, Board Chair, South Dakota Dairy Producers
  • Scott VanderWal, President of the Board, South Dakota Farm Bureau
  • Michael Crinion, Board Member, Edge Dairy Cooperative
  • Alla Kureninova, Operations Manager, Natural Beauty and AmericanHort Member
  • South Dakota Pork Producers Council
  • James O’Neill and Enrique Sanchez, American Business Immigration Coalition – Action

…According to the American Immigration Council, immigrants make up 7% of all workers in farming, fishing and forestry in South Dakota—and their labor is strongly linked to food prices. On the national level, Texas A&M International University recently released data from a new economic study on the link between stabilizing the agricultural workforce and decreasing inflation and consumer prices, showing that ensuring farmers have a stable, secure, reliable, and legal workforce is crucial to keeping America’s grocery shelves stocked, combating inflation, and lowering food prices (including milk, eggs, meat, and produce) for all domestic consumers.

Addressing workforce shortages facing farm employers and stabilizing the H-2A visa application process is also crucial for enhancing our national food security by protecting domestic agriculture production. According to the USDA, next year, for the first time in U.S. history, we as a country will be importing more agricultural goods than we export.

…In 2021, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act with bipartisan support. That was a good start, and now in the Senate, Senators Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Mike Bennet (D-CO) have taken the lead on negotiating improvements on the House’s solutions and moving the process forward. Passing new Senate legislation is critical to solving labor shortages facing the South Dakota agriculture sector and sustaining the state’s economy as a whole [American Business Immigration Coalition Action, press release, 2022.08.31].

As passed by the House last year, the Farm Workforce Modernization Act would allow the undocumented workers who make up nearly half of America’s farmworkers and their families to apply for temporary but indefinitely renewable legal status, if they don’t break any other laws. Those workers could also buy green cards for $1,000 and four to eight years of ongoing farm labor. The FWMA would also streamline and expand H-2A visas for farmworkers and implement E-Verify for all ag employment.

None of South Dakota’s members of Congress have signed on to co-sponsor the Farm Workforce Modernization Act. Rep. Dusty Johnson voted against it.

ABIC Action notes that nationwide we have 10.7 million job openings and only 5.7 million unemployed workers. “Even if every unemployed American found a job, we would still have five million jobs unfilled,” says ABIC Action exec Rebecca Shi. “But for America’s broken immigration system, immigrant workers could fill many of these jobs — and it is U.S.-born citizens who would benefit the most from their contributions.”

South Dakota has 10,800 unemployed workers and 33,000 job openings. The only way we’re going to get all that work done, including grinding up all of Wholestone’s piggies, is to bring more immigrants to South Dakota—not those snowflake white blue-state refugees who spend their time shouting at Mike Rounds about their intent to wage civil war if they don’t get their way, but more of the Latin American, Asian, and African immigrants who are already shouldering most of the burden of making our bacon and steaming our wienies.


  1. jim 2022-09-01 07:32

    It would be so unfair to the slaughterhouse and those officials who snuck this through, if we didn’t let them get away with it. Awww.

  2. Nix 2022-09-01 08:04

    It sure is interesting when you walk into a Mexican restaurant in N. W. Iowa and
    It’s full of beer belly Trump bumper sticker loving idiots lapping up a Super
    After they burp the Modelo and leave, they turn on Fox and complain about
    those damn immigrants and all of the drugs that they poison our kids with !
    They love that South Dakota Governor…
    “Call me when you’re an American “
    Damn Mexicans……
    Let’s grab lunch !!!!

  3. John 2022-09-01 08:11

    Exceptional analysis, again, Cory. Thank you.
    Np one should feign surprise that Howdy Doody Johnson and none of the SD CODEL sponsor or co-sponsor, or vote for any immigration measure that will help South Dakota.
    Our nation’s demographic has a huge hole in the population of Generation Z. The only way to “fill that hole” – find those workers – is immigration.

    You don’t just create new 20 year olds out of thin air.

  4. larry kurtz 2022-09-01 08:23

    Yes, meat processors and industrial agriculture employ the greatest numbers of Hispanics in South Dakota. Spanish speakers prop up the federally subsidized dairy industry East River but in Huron Karen refugees slaughter and process turkeys. The crony capitalism that keeps South Dakota the 8th worst state for the working class is destroying lands promised to native peoples by treaty and my home town of Elkton is struggling to find enough housing for migrant workers often living in squalor.

  5. mike from iowa 2022-09-01 08:34

    Grift of a lifetime…. arrest 1000 immigrants, put them in the pen and then lease them to new slaughterhouse at a quarter per hour, while charging the pack at least minimum wage. Noem and the prison could split the spoils between them.

  6. John 2022-09-01 09:08

    I should have included the South Dakota demographic pyramid that CLEARLY shows the missing workers between the ages of 20 to 39.
    Since Dusty, Moscow Thune, rounds, and noem cannot create people out of thin air, and since they cannot recruit workers from Blue States; the only option is recruiting immigrants.
    The good news is the worker shortage will increase the cost of scarce labor – pay raises for the workers.
    A further description:

  7. jim 2022-09-01 09:22

    Location, location, location.

    I think the Wholestone project would present a lot of problems – even if it’s located outside of town. But is anybody saying that they can’t do that?

    In town? No way.

  8. P. Aitch 2022-09-01 18:29

    Before retirement I worked shoulder to shoulder with unionized new Americans for thirty years. They were mostly from Mexico but also from Europe and North Africa. The majority of SD residents have a jaded and distorted image of the immigrant worker. It’s not up to me to educate you. You’re the state in need of people you have very little regard for, and they know it. Why would hard workers choose a bigoted area to live when Minnesota, New Mexico, and Colorado pay more and treat New Americans with dignity and respect.
    Happy Labor Day, Amigos y Amigas
    The latest Gallup Poll finds that 71% of American voters approve of unions. Up from 40% ten years ago.

  9. Jake 2022-09-01 19:26

    Unions beget democracy; that’s why Republicans hate them soooo much.

  10. John 2022-09-02 21:52

    Timely! Barron’s headlines the US labor shortage that it anticipates will last for DECADES. The good news is workers wages will increase, after being FROZEN for generations.
    The good news is the anti-immigrant republicans are screwing themselves and their businesses. The republicans anti-everything agenda will repel immigration from educated Europe and Asia. And republican litmus tests of poverty, skin color, and ‘not like us’ doom republican attempts to fill the worker shortage. The worker shortage is compounded in stupid states like South Dakota that: 1) fail investing in future technology (hint, a packing plant is not new technology – see, The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair, and 2) export their children who pursue higher quality of life and greater opportunities.

    It will be WILD watching Sioux Falls trying to fill employees for the Amazon warehouse and Wholestone. Mitchell, Madison, Brookings – they are coming after your workers.

    This link is to the Barron’s headline, the article is paywalled: I’m not cutting and pasting segments. You have the demographic pyramids, above.

  11. John 2022-09-05 09:53

    Farmers can read a demographic pyramid and call for increased immigration. The incapability of “farm state” congressional republicans support of increased immigration is testament that they follow the dictates of big donors and not the public need.
    “Farmers across the U.S. are joining a push for national immigration reform that they say could ease labor shortages and lower food prices as surging production costs continue to rock the agriculture industry.

    The farm operators say the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, already passed by the House and pending in the Senate, will provide them with a stable reliable workforce by creating a path to citizenship for undocumented agricultural workers and reforming the seasonal farmworker visa program, among other things.

    The current labor shortage, while not new, has been exacerbated by the pandemic and resulted in higher prices or empty store shelves for consumers. Food costs are now 10% higher than they were at this time last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

  12. John 2022-09-05 14:12

    MAGA republicans meme:
    “My ancestors didn’t travel 4,000 miles, learn a new language and culture, for the place to be overrun by immigrants.”

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