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$1.1M from Poet Means Jeff Broin Paying for 87% of Anti-Slaughterhouse Campaign

Jeff Broin’s brother put $10,000 into Smart Growth Sioux Falls’ campaign for a ballot initiative to block the construction of Wholestone Farms’ pork slaughterhouse downwind from Broin’s mansion and executive office. Now Jeff Broin’s company, Poet Ethanol, has put more 100 times that amount into the campaign to save Jeff from the smell of money:

Smart Growth Sioux Falls, campaign finance disclosure, filed 2022.11.03.
Smart Growth Sioux Falls, campaign finance disclosure, filed 2022.11.03.

Poet’s $1,080,950 comes on top of $25,000 Poet donated earlier in the campaign.

The total $1,105,950 from Broin’s ethanol company constitutes 86.6% of the money SGSF has reported raising and 88.7% of the money SGSF has reported spending. Poet’s seven-figure contribution to public intervention in the free market is 2.3 times more than all the money other members of the ag-industrial complex have contributed to the opposing municipal ballot question committee, Sioux Falls Open for Business, to turn Broin’s neighborhood into another porky stinkhole.


  1. sx123 2022-11-07

    Are there any ethanol plants within smelling distance of any towns? Ethanol plants stink too.

  2. TAG 2022-11-07

    Something stinks here. I smell a case of NIMBY: Wealthy homes edition. This is similar to when mansion-owners raised hell when a Walmart came to the major intersection of 85th and Louise (you know, major intersections, where typically city planners like to concentrate regional retail?). The thing that really pisses me off about this whole thing is the mis-appropriation of the term “SmartGrowth”. Smart Growth is a city and regional planning term that refers to sustainable practices. It has zero to do with rich people getting to dictate where undesirable land uses get to exist. This is an industrially-zoned area. What the hell did they think was going to go there? A Friggin Starbucks and Fro-Yo?

  3. Jake 2022-11-07

    TAG-you are correct! This fight is all about a rich guy flaunting his wealth to protect his choice (bad) of building a mansion in an industrial area and then years later wanting to be able to tell authorities: “No way, I and my money are here now: you find somewhere else to put a factory that will give sustenance work to those lower middle class workers and business people. Not in MY backyard! I’m just TOO important to have it for a neighbor. My wealth will pick MY neighbors , thank you!”

  4. Edwin Arndt 2022-11-07

    There is a 110 million gallon ethanol plant approx. one mile east of my
    house and in nine years of living here I have never noticed an odor.
    Nor have I heard of anyone complaining of an odor.

  5. larry kurtz 2022-11-07

    Industrial agriculture is ecocide and for those of us who love the Earth shuck and jives like Poet’s and Summit’s are subsidized corporate greenwashing cropaganda but ironically many Republicans actually benefitting from reduced greenhouse emissions decry them as caving to the Green New Deal.

  6. John 2022-11-07

    TAG, spot on . . . mostly. Yes, the area is zoned industrial. Which is fitting, sorta, since it makes sense for industry having ready access to the infrastructure of the interstate and air travel corridors. Yet, downwind, areas are zoned residential (east FSD, west Brandon). Those areas will suffer if the abomination is built. And Brandon is unable to vote on the issue. One could argue that not all industrial is created equal – some are far more polluting than others. Build it in NW Iowa, closer to the hogs and present overwhelming hog pollution, downwind of FSD, and close enough to the interstate infrastructure.

  7. Eljeffe 2022-11-07

    Don’t know why everyone assumes Mr Broin is doing this for the sake of keeping his house stink free. I don’t know where Mr. Broin actually lives, nor do I care, but I can assure you it’s not anywhere near the proposed slaughterhouse. Those who’s houses could be affected, and there’s a good number of them, are all lower to middle class families who’s homes are likely the biggest single investment they’ll ever make.

    As for the businesses in the area, and there’s a good number of them as well, POET HQ included, I suspect Mr. Broin is not alone in wishing them to locate elsewhere. So he put his money where his mouth is. Which for better or worse is his right.

    Maybe he just wants SF to go a different direction I’m okay with that.

  8. P. Aitch 2022-11-07

    There was a piece of land, zoned industrial, in my Little Town (pop.41,000) that Walmart wanted to build on. We The People voted it down and the vote stuck. *It’s now a huge Breckenridge Brewery site with outdoor concert facilities and “Tours Like Coors”. Another proud piece of our Little Town.

    You can do it Sioux Falls. Being the most liberal city in SD, you’ve probably already voted but if not, You Can Do It.

  9. TAG 2022-11-07

    Here’s another issue: The operation in question was approved by all appropriate city departments, and approved by our City Council. All required permits and approvals were met. The City Council is elected. So you could rightly say that the citizens of Sioux Falls have already had a say in this process. This is an eleventh-hour reactionary thing. If you don’t like the way a city is zoned, you have plenty of opportunity to get involved long before a business is interested in the property.

    Whether it is coming from the left or the right, NIMBY is NIMBY. Saying you are OK with eating processed meat at a reasonable price, and then turning your nose up at how that affordable processed meat gets to the supermarket is some of the worst hypocrisy. There are humans that live in rural areas, just as there are in Sioux Falls. Saying something should be in a rural area is simply not understanding how that business works. You need to be close to your labor.
    If you are vegan and your view is that everyone should be vegan, then great. I’d say you are slightly less hypocritical in shunning a slaughterhouse. If you are pro-clean-drinking-water, as I am, consider understanding how much better this new facility will be as compared to the existing one we have. Do your homework, don’t just react.

  10. Donald Pay 2022-11-07

    I look at this a bit differently. From a food security standpoint, you want these sorts of plants spread out over a greater distance. In the first place you don’t want these big plants anyway. You want smaller plants located in different communities. That way if there is a tornado or some similar natural or man-made disaster, a good chunk of America’s food production doesn’t get taken off-line.

    Smaller plants spread over greater distances also solve the labor issue. Fewer workers required in each community means you can spread out the economic development benefits across a broader area, while diluting down the negative impacts.

    Second, there has been no talk of controlling the Volatile Organic Compounds that create the stench. The City just caved without imposing some reasonable standards and technology to assure the VOCs were controlled. This has been going on for as long as I can remember with the Smithfield plant. You would think we’ve come a ways since the days when John Morrell’s plant could be smelled all over town. European’s have been able to figure out better ways to deal with the stench from similar plants, but, of course, the City didn’t bother to do any research or require monitoring or technology to control odors. The city bothed this development from the git-go. Better to turn it down, and have them re-do the project. Otherwise you’re going to drive other development away.

  11. John 2022-11-07

    TAG, 2 strikes. 1) the filing of the referendum staayed the permitting until AFTER the election. FSD bureaucrats blithely ignored democracy in action.
    2) You don’t understand how business works. The oil fields in northwest North Dakota “found” labor AFTER deciding to PAY people. The oil developers didn’t troll through Bismarck or Fargo for employees or complete 200-mile plus directional drilling from Bismarck or Fargo just to be ‘close to their employees’.

  12. Richard Schriever 2022-11-07

    sx123 Ethanol plants smell like beer, not pooop. Just sayin’. but then slaughterhosues donlt smell like poop either, but those CAFOs like the one across the roaqd from the Chanclellor POET plant sure do.

  13. jim 2022-11-07

    The public was not aware of this until recently. And THEIR voice should matter, shouldn’t it?

    I don’t want to see Sioux Falls turn into a slaughterhouse town. Don’t allow city officials to ram this through. Please vote YES on the ban.

  14. larry kurtz 2022-11-07

    Eastern Colorado is virtually one big CAFO that kills, milks, hatches and grows much of the food for the Front Range sucking billions of gallons from the aquifer recharges for Kansas and Nebraska. It’s unsustainable but downwind from population centers. If Sioux Falls grows to the west all that industry will use more water than Lewis and Clark or any other water system can provide causing more stink while burning diesel fuel for ethanol. It’s lunacy.

  15. TAG 2022-11-07

    Jim, city approval for projects like this are not a secret process. City Council meetings are open to the public, and even televised. Many of these approvals involve long public notice periods. Just because most people don’t pay attention to these mundane things, that does not equate to the process being secret.

    Vote however you like based on your own criteria, but don’t claim that the public was somehow kept in the dark, or lied to. That’s disingenuous.

  16. Donald Pay 2022-11-07

    TAG, It appears those who are not paying attention are the city officials. They violated state laws on initiatives and referendum by even considering these permits.

  17. Richard Schriever 2022-11-08

    Donald – they DID NOT do so. That was taken to court, where a naive judge at first ruled in a way that would support what you describe – but then after further consideration, WITHDREW HER OWN RULING – saying it was in error, and there was no violation by the city. And how can one violate a petition/referendum law prohibiting the issuance of permits by “considering” said permits – BEFORE that intiative process itself was undertaken?? Stop the Norquistian spinning man. Losing my respect.

  18. Sleepy 2022-11-14

    If I was a poet stockholder I’d sue for misappropriated funds. That donation has nothing to do with poet it was for the benefit of the CEO and should come out of his pay not the companies money

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