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Sioux Falls Voters Clear Way for Second Slaughterhouse… To Be Made Obsolete by Test-Tube Meat?

Jeff Broin’s $1.1 million dollars didn’t buy enough votes to stop Wholestone Farms from stinking up his neighborhood with a new slaughterhouse. The proposed moratorium on slaughterhouses in Sioux Falls failed last week on a narrow 48%–52% vote.

Central Sioux Falls city councilman Curt Soehl puts on his old seed cap and says agri-business über alles:

“Sioux Falls is open for business,” Soehl said. “We look for good businesses to move to our city, and if you follow the rules, we’re gonna support you – I think that’s the message going forward. Sioux Falls is still an ag community, and we support agriculture, especially value-added agriculture” [C.J. Keene, “Proposed Meatpacking Plant Clears Hurdle After Ban Vote Fails,” SDPB, 2022.11.14].

Hey, Curt: the whole reason Sioux Falls has boomed over the past generation while the very similar Sioux City has not is that Sioux Falls has embraced the idea of being something more than an ag community, of diversifying its economy to invite workers whose talents and interests do not affirm the obsolete image certain pols keep promoting (with bothersomely persistent success) that real South Dakotans consist exclusively of sodbusters and cowpokes.

Besides, butchering living creatures for meat is (a) gross, (b) environmentally unsustainable, (c) prone to child labor abuses, and (d) quite possibly on the verge of becoming completely unnecessary thanks to science:

Instead of raising livestock on farms, Uma Valeti, a cardiologist, and co-founder of Upside Foods, dreamt of a way to “grow” meat in a production facility, by culturing animal cells.

The concept for what’s now called “cultivated” meat came to Valeti when he was working with heart attack patients at the Mayo Clinic more than 15 years ago, growing human heart cells in a lab. It should be possible to grow meat with similar science, he realized.

Scientists could extract cells from an animal via a needle biopsy, place them in tanks, feed them the nutrients they need to proliferate, including fats, sugar, amino acids and vitamins, and end up with meat.

It has taken years of experimentation by a crew of biologists, biochemists and engineers to turn that concept into a product ready to eat. Now the company is awaiting a greenlight from the Food and Drug Administration to begin selling its first cultivated meat products, including a chicken fillet.

After four years of talks with regulators at the FDA, Valeti anticipates this could happen “in the very near future.” When it does, Upside’s production facility in Emeryville, Calif., will be able to produce over 50,000 pounds of cultivated meat products per year [Allison Aubrey, “From Science Fiction to Reality, ‘No Kill’ Meat May Be Coming Soon,” NPR, 2022.11.14].

If Jeff Broin doesn’t move out of Sioux Falls in a fit of pique at the very capitalist shruggery that helps him run fragrant ethanol plants near suffering populations., perhaps he can invest in Dr. Valeti’s meat breweries to give Wholestone Farms hog slaughterhouse some futuristic competition.


  1. Donald Pay 2022-11-15

    Well, the voters had their say, so they apparently don’t mind the stink. The problem for America, though, is that putting two large meatpackers in such a short distance will make the country more food insecure. It was not a wise decision from a national security standpoint.

    I doubt food security was an issue in this campaign, but stupidity was a background issue on the ballot, and the people voted for stupidity. It’s the same as having most of your refineries concentrated in areas where hurricanes and tornadoes can wipe out a good part of refined petroleum products.

  2. Richard Schriever 2022-11-15

    FWIW, the sale of animal feed (dried distillers’ grains) and not ethanol, is what makes Broin’s operation(s) profitable. The presence of Wholestone approximate to the house those feed sales bought him is simple irony at work – sometimes called karma.

  3. Tom 2022-11-15

    geezzzz….test tube babies raised on test tube meat…the future is ours…

  4. Mark Anderson 2022-11-15

    This will make Sioux Falls even more diverse and that’s no stink.

  5. Mark Anderson 2022-11-15

    Some grown Spitzmur would be fantastic. However, I’d hate to hurt Renner Corner.

  6. sx123 2022-11-15

    Lab grown meat would work for hotdogs, sausages, and maybe burgers, but I’m not convinced 3D printed steaks will win over too many hearts anytime soon.

    One of the excuses of making plants taste like meat is to win over meat eaters by replacing meat with highly processed vegetable concoctions that taste like meat, sorta.

    But I don’t really see the point in trying to make plants taste like meat. Plants taste good as they are.

  7. Mark Anderson 2022-11-15

    sx123, there are other reasons. After my six bypasses I HAD to give up red meat and most unfortunately most cheese. I do eat some cheese which I learned is more addictive than cocaine. However, what made life more palatable was the Impossible whopper. Things keep getting better.

  8. sx123 2022-11-15

    Mark, sorry to hear about the cheese, ouch. How do you cope with that?! I did not know it is more addictive than cocaine; must be why I love cheese too :)

  9. Edwin Arndt 2022-11-15

    I suspect that electric cars will be very prevalent a long long
    time be fore test tube meat makes a dent in the market.
    Up to this time, I have never found a substitute product that
    was as good as what it was designed to replace.

  10. John 2022-11-15

    Here, in 16 minutes, Tony Seba, from ReThinkX, updates his analysis of the transformation of the agriculture and food industry.
    The SD “cheese plants” dependent on milk from dairies will likely be gone within a decade – as will all those dairy cows. Think of what that will mean for the water quality in the Big Sioux River watershed. No manure lagoons. No fields of over-fertilized corn and beans to feed those cattle.

    The cow (and hogs) are the least efficient means to process human food. They’ll be replaced within a decade, no more than 2 decades, with combinations of a) plant based proteins, and b) precision fermentation based proteins. Precision fermentation is vastly more efficient than meat (protein) from cows (or hogs). Fermentation farms will be the new food farms. Investing in slaughterhouses is a fools errand. Sioux Falls (and South Dakota) is betting on the wrong horse. It’s as if Sioux Falls and South Dakota were to bet on the resurgence of horse buggy transportation industry.

    If you missed Seba’s longer talk, with Q&A, on the great transformation, search for his 1:37 talk to the counsel of state governments.

  11. jim 2022-11-15

    I thought it was a very bad idea to locate another slaughterhouse in town. But the Republican turnout effort won the day and it’s gonna happen. Maybe more than one is in our future? Yikes.

    Trying to think of something positive here. If most of the pork producers are selling to the producer-owned Wholestone, who is going to be providing Smithfield with hogs? Could Smithfield actually be eliminated?

  12. RS 2022-11-15

    You’re just going to have twice as many swine confinement units surrounding the Sioux Falls countryside.

  13. P. Aitch 2022-11-15

    Protein is a molecule and can take as many, probably more forms than there are atoms in the known universe. Precision fermentation, uses microorganisms, usually genetically modified, as “cell factories” to produce specific functional ingredients. These ingredients are used only as additives or nutritional substitutes. (e.g. A protein rich product to add to a cake to make it rise without the need of a chicken or that chicken’s eggs.)
    – Precision fermentation will have benefits in nutrition, in the third world, but won’t eliminate the tactile mouthfeel of lab cultured meats.
    – I predict that SX123 will be convinced that cultured steaks are worthy once he/she tries the product providing his/her closed mind is opened just a crack.
    – One thing that’s known for sure is the negativity bias of most in South Dakota. That’s why new things don’t come from up there.

    Edwin says: “Up to this time, I have never found a substitute product that
    was as good as what it was designed to replace.” – There are many Edwin but one that comes to mind is masturbation. #LotsCheaperToo

  14. Edwin Arndt 2022-11-15

    Not even close.
    I might add that humans have been killing animals for meat
    for millennia. Even Native Americans.
    I once ordered an o’douls in a bar. Couldn’t drink that stuff.

  15. P. Aitch 2022-11-15

    Edwin, Edwin, Edwin. I’m not here to be the WD-40 to your rusty lug nut of a brain because I know a stubborn German from Russia descendent when I read one.
    But here’s one for you to say, ‘That’s better than the original.” Seedless watermelons.
    Also, seedless apples, varieties of dates and kiwis, seedless pineapples, seedless citrus fruit, seedless grapes, and seedless persimmons. Common hybrid vegetables include beets, carrots, corn, potatoes, celery and cauliflower. Other hybrid foods are hybrid beans, nuts and seeds.
    These may include cashews, almonds, oats, rice, wheat, wheat grass, soy, legumes and most beans. Hybrid herbs examples are goldenseal, ginseng, echinacea, chamomile, aloe vera, nutmeg, comfrey and garlic.

  16. Mark Anderson 2022-11-15

    You know lab meat will all come down to cost. If it happens and works well, the ranchers will be gone overnight. Farmers rule.

  17. Edwin Arndt 2022-11-15

    Seedless watermelon etc. is not a substitute product. It’s an
    improved product.
    All I ever do is acknowledge reality. Something that a fair number
    of liberals have a very difficult time accomplishing.

  18. P. Aitch 2022-11-15

    Seedless watermelon is no different than lab cultured beef. Both are improved versions on the original. No genetic modifications. Your reality is whatever you happen to agree with at the moment. No facts and no verification.
    LWIY, Edwin. (last word is yours) Happy Turkey Day, Amigo. 😊

  19. Edwin Arndt 2022-11-15

    I would prefer Herr Arndt to amigo. We descendants of those stubborn Germans from
    Russia take great satisfaction in using proper form.

  20. grudznick 2022-11-15

    There will always be those fellows that want a real, from the hoof, bloody red steak. And they’ll pay whatever it takes. The rest of you can eat your McDonalds fake meat and test tube hot dogs and processed jerk of beef.

    grudznick and his roaddogs will be eating real steak.

  21. Spike 2022-11-15

    Is the cow a replacement animal for the buffalo Edwin? For what little I know the buffalo doesn’t clog arteries or have calves in blizzards. The cost of converting a cattle operation to a buffalo operation is expensive but if done it certainly changes the problems. Marketing just has not taken off for some reason. But these days the buffalo herds in the country are becoming so abundant that you could be given some for no cost if committed to raising them. I eat buffalo meat and its good. I am curious if Marks docs mention it for healthy protein. But there is something about that artery clogging, genetically engineered, multi vaccinated, dakota raised, bought at the local locker, ribeye or t-bone steak that soothes the soul and can make life worth living. Even though it has made many a heart surgeon rather wealthy.

  22. DaveFN 2022-11-15

    Regarding so-called “precision fermentation,” so-called as it is some 45 years old at least, dating from the time human insulin was first produced in1978 by scientists at Genetech, Inc. and City of Hope National Medical Center. So-called “precision fermentation” has a high likelihood of making things only worse, not better:

    “What is in the cell culture medium and what is it derived from? The microorganisms need to eat if they are to grow and produce sellable commodities, like any type of livestock. Is the nutrient bath derived from corn or soy, typically genetically modified to withstand high dosages of herbicides? Are there supply chains in place to provide such nutrient media at scale? What is the caloric conversion and nutrient uptake efficiency of the microbes compared to animal livestock. How much farmland acreage would be impacted? What will be the input costs besides feedstock and how will that impact consumer prices?

    How much waste material is produced by such microorganisms relative to sellable product? This includes metabolic wastes, as well as the leftover steep once the spent microbes and consumable material have been filtered out. How will such wastes be disposed of and who is ultimately responsible for it?

    How does the energy and resource usage of such products compare to competing animal-based items? Much of the marketing and fundraising for such products revolves around being significantly less harmful to the climate than CAFOs. Precision fermentation requires large investments in concrete, steel, plastic and fossil-fuel dependent electric utilities to maintain the particular environmental settings necessary for the microorganisms to thrive. If the sector wishes to have a significant impact on consumption, they will require the buildout of thousands of fermentation tanks and dozens, if not hundreds of facilities. How will this resource use impact communities already dealing with the environmental racism and colonialism inherent in mining, tech manufacturing and waste disposal?

    What kind of testing has been done to understand the potential environmental impact for if and/or when the microbes escape the confines of a fermentation plant, particularly as the technology scales? Can they survive and interact in the variable conditions and ecosystems that exist in the wild? Since some of these organisms are derived from strains that can live and thrive well outdoors, what are the environmental risks? CAFOs have long been linked to the spread of pathogens and pandemics, so will precision fermentation reduce these risks or create new ones?

    The biggest set of questions here revolves around ownership, governance and social equity considerations. Just about all of this new food technology is heavily funded by tech oligarchs, venture capitalists, or the occasional celebrity. Bill Gates is just one such example. He made his fortune by enclosing, privatizing and scaling what had previously been mostly an open-sourced, common-pool resource: software.”

    —“What Consumers Should Ask About Precision Fermentation,” 2 March 2022

  23. grudznick 2022-11-15

    Mr. DaveFN said:

    so much stuff that nobody really read it, and it defeated his purpose

    grudznick retorted with the general, and majority public consensus of


  24. grudznick 2022-11-15

    grudznick won the debate

  25. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-11-16

    All good questions, Dave, but without answers, they establish no likelihood that the inputs and waste from brewed meat will be worse than the land use, sewage, and greenhouse gas emissions from factory feedlots.

  26. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-11-16

    Edwin, the meat Dr. Valeti grows in his vats is not a substitute product; it is chicken. It’s the same stuff you eat, just produced in a different way. It’s like the radio on your car: same basic product as 50 years ago, just produced in highly automated factories in China, Japan, and multiple other countries instead of a mostly manual assembly line in Detroit. You may not be able to tell the difference.

  27. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-11-16

    Jim, I do keep wondering if the Wholestone project will become SIoux Falls’s only slaughterhouse because Smithfield is on the verge of moving out.

  28. M 2022-11-16

    Buffalo and deer are indigenous to the area. The environment and them get along just fine.

    Cattle and pheasant are not from here and thus we have to change all kinds of things to accommodate them. Even kill lots of other critters like prairie dogs who love the buffalo and anything that eats pheasant eggs. Screw up an ecosystem to create a new one that isn’t working.

    I don’t care what kind of meat you like to eat. If you’re healthy, you’re probably not eating red meat. Personally, I eat chia seeds (related to the tumbleweed) and hemp seeds for protein. There are so many alternatives to beef and it’s all about choice. However, when it interferes with the health of others, well that’s another story.

    S.D. has bad water and that is thanks to ag.

  29. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-11-16

    I’m seeing two terms, cultured meat and precision fermentation. Are they the same thing?

  30. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-11-16

    Growing meat in vats could free up all that land currently dedicated to factory crop and livestock production for restoration to natural habitat for buffalo and deer. Folks who maintain an affinity to slaughtered meat could hunt more and eat more native meat that, prior to its killing, does more to sustain the ecosystem than all of our penned cows and pigs.

  31. Are you in FAVOR of lab-grown “meat”? If so, you want western South Dakota to be divested of ranchers who protect the air, water, land from various exploitation schemes and the land filled with what? Subdivisions?

    I hope this is a misreading of your intent, in which case I hope you will explain.

  32. P. Aitch 2022-11-16

    Cory asks if cultured meat and precision fermentation are the same thing.
    They are the same in that both are different ways to produce proteins.
    *Different anything is difficult for many in South Dakota.

  33. P. Aitch 2022-11-16

    I learned as a teenager, even before I was enveloped by the culture of change within Vermillion during Vietnam, that embracing new things and new ideas quickly was the best way to avoid being told what to do.
    ~ It’s been a key to my happiness, success, and understanding ever since.

  34. Donald Pay 2022-11-16

    Linda Hasselstrom has a good point, The West River ranchers I knew, whether they were progressive or conservative, were more protective of the land, water and wildlife than any other use of the land. If ranchers are ushered off the land, who will get hold of it if not the corporations that want to bury nuclear waste and garbage?

  35. Richard Schriever 2022-11-16

    John – More of the FWIW knowledge. Sioux Falls and South Dakota are NOT “investing” in anything @ Wholestone. They are allowing a group of farmers from Minnesota and Iowa mostly – to make that investment (and pay taxes) within their state and corporate boundaries. Despite all the fear-mongering propaganda – the US is not at all a socialist country.

  36. Edwin Arndt 2022-11-16

    Cory, for cryin’ out loud get real. Every civilized society has had domesticated
    animals. I just don’t believe that will change. Humans have always been moving
    stuff hither and thither. Would you take horses and chickens back to Europe?

    As for vat produced chicken, will there be separate vats for drumsticks, wings,
    breasts? Please elucidate.

    Mankind has always tried to change natural habitat to his liking. That’s not gonna
    change either.

  37. Richard Schriever 2022-11-16

    grudz – You wrote your own great example of your intellectual slacker mentality.

  38. Richard Schriever 2022-11-16

    Edwin, I believe microbes used in these processes could be considered domesticated animals. Just sayin’.

  39. Richard Schriever 2022-11-16

    BTW Edwin, both chickens and horses come from places other to Europe. Horses were even herein North America -likely BEFORE they were in Europe. Other stuff (living or not) moves around on Earth just as does the human element. “Creation” has never been and never will be static.

  40. Edwin Arndt 2022-11-16

    Yes Richard, you may be correct. But as far as it is possible to
    know, there were no horses in the americas when the Spanish
    brought them from Europe.

    You have a very loose definition of what constitutes domestication.

  41. larry kurtz 2022-11-16

    No doubt the factory growing flesh for human consumption will be right next to the boneless chicken ranch. The new world is not so brave as it is unthinkable.

  42. e platypus onion 2022-11-16

    Did the Americas have horses before Europeans?
    Image result for did america have horses before spanish brought some
    The discovery of the Hagerman horse proved that horses were present in North America before the arrival of Columbus. In fact, it’s now thought that horses may have first come to the Western Hemisphere over 20 million years ago. The Hagerman horse was once a common sight in North America.

    There were horses here before the Spanish showed up, but, maybe none at the time Spaniards turned their horses loose.

  43. P. Aitch 2022-11-16

    I’ll trust in the future to be beneficial, benevolent, and non-binary. I’ll invest my money in it. I’ll invest my grandchildren’s lives in it. I’ll let those who are crying before they’re hurt be the platform for my progress. You know who you are and please know that you ARE important to the future. Everything is both positive and negative. The choice which charge to be is however, up to you.

  44. Mark Anderson 2022-11-16

    You know Edwin, I like your pre MAGA Republicanism. Just get on a stand and yell stop. I couldn’t stand O’Douls either. I’ve become a wino, a glass of wine a night instead of beer. When we go out I have a beer or several and hand my wife the keys. She gave up drinking which I won’t do. My doctors and I have an agreement, red wine is fine.
    It’s just now the reasoning behind test tube meat is impeccable. There will always be steak and real meat for connoisseurs like yourself or cono-sewers like grudz. A change is always going to come. I heard that song in my youth. Now Linda, that yuge National Park is something to discuss. Ammon Bundy could rent part of it to store his hats. He could then run for governor, west river of course.

  45. Mark Anderson 2022-11-16

    Richard, since the US isn’t socialist,, do I have to give up my Costco card? I’m really tired of going there anyway. I feel like I have to buy another refrigerator and we have two and there are only two of us. I feel like William Morris, who was a socialist and yet created a handmade craft empire that only the wealthy could afford. It’s always a conundrum.

  46. Mark Anderson 2022-11-16

    The story of test tube meat ties in with the movie The Man in the White Suit. Watch it.

  47. Mark Anderson 2022-11-16

    Linda M.Hasselstrom, I’ve just learned that Cultivated Meat is there term you should use. Not lab grown “meat”. I know you won’t like that, but it does ring better than slaughterhouse meat. Cow farts away….

  48. oldtimerDon 2022-11-16

    Darn good to see that the election is stimulating some reasonably thoughtful conversation. I was raised on a small ranch in Western SD. We hunted deer and rabbits, raised and grass fed cattle along with a few hogs. Milked our cows to sell milk and for our own consumption. I have been o the business end of a hand powered cream separator. Tried chickens, but the raccoons ended that venture. We ate beef, occasionally a hog, so essentially I ate meat most of my life.
    My Dad ultimately got out of ranching and started buying and selling cattle. Help liquidate the Hunt Brothers when they went broke. However, as he started working closer with the feedlots, he quit eating beef and pork. He learned that hogs, cattle and poultry are are so stuffed with chemicals that we are just consuming poison.
    He quit, but not soon enough. Massive coronary at 64 put him in the ground. I also quit eating beef, poultry, and pork about the same time. Lost 3 good friends who loved cheese and drank lots of milk-all painful cancer.
    like Mark I love cheese , but have quit and found that my arthritis has become less severe.
    Not trying to attack anyone, but I only eat eggs, some fish (potential chemical problems I know) and a lot of beans, peas, legumes and other veggies. I feel better at 77 than I did at 50. Meat and dairy production is a dying industry. Farmers can do better raising grains and vegetables for human consumption, rather than being slaves of Big AG. We are in a state of transition for the better. I no longer feel that I have the right to kill and eat something that has never harmed me.

  49. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-11-16

    Linda, I do not view animal-free meat as a recipe for putting West River ranchers out of business and turning the West River prairie into some goshawful suburbia. If anything, it’s possible that adding affordable animal-free meat to the market would reduce demand for factory-slaughterhouse-CAFO meat, put the big polluting CAFOs in East River out of business, and ease the economic pressure that pushes the conversion of rangeland to cropland, especially West River, to produce feed for animals. The remaining demand for animal meat—and demand would remain, as some folks would still want to eat meat from killed creatures under the impression that such meat is more “real”—could be met by more natural, grass-fed herds allowed to run and graze on restored prairie as part of a more integrated ecosystem.

  50. Edwin Arndt 2022-11-16

    Cory, have you tried some of this so called meat of which you speak?
    Where could I get some?

  51. DaveFN 2022-11-16

    Cory Heidelberger

    “All good questions, Dave, but without answers, they establish no likelihood that the inputs and waste from brewed meat will be worse than the land use, sewage, and greenhouse gas emissions from factory feedlots.”

    In advance of fact, there are no answers. There are only questions.

  52. DaveFN 2022-11-16

    And the more questions, the better, I think you might agree?

  53. John 2022-11-17

    Let the exponential growth of the industry begin and the watch the cost curves fall — the FDA “approved” precision fermentation, cultivated meat for human consumption.
    It’s a matter of a few years for the industry to scale up and the inefficient cattle industry to scale down. I look forward to cleaner rural waters and a healthier diet.
    It will be quite the sideshow watching the stock groaners, et al., attack the future every bit as much as big tobacco attacked public health and fossil fuel companies attacked solar and wind energy. Expect that rural media will be dupes for living in the past.

  54. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-11-17

    No, Edwin, I haven’t had the opportunity to try Dr. Valeti’s product. He’s still waiting for FDA approval to put it on the market. But the NPR reporter whose work I cite above tried it and said it tasted just like chicken:

    I was served a piece of their chicken, pan-fried in a white-wine butter sauce. My first reaction: “It’s delicious.” (Isn’t everything in wine-butter sauce?) And the texture was chewy, closely replicating the texture of chicken breast (minus bones, and tough bits or gristle.) “It tastes like chicken,” I said, to which Valeti quickly replied, “It is chicken!” [Aubrey, 2022.11.14]

    Another advantage Aubrey cites in her report is less disease and less dumping of antibiotics into the environment: “From a public health perspective, a potential advantage of cultivated meat is the fact that without live animals to catch and spread disease, no antibiotics are needed in production facilities and there’s decreased likelihood of foodborne illness from intestinal pathogens.”

  55. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-11-17

    On the question of net climate-change impact: Aubrey points out that the CO2 emitted will depend on how much the production of meat without animals can rely on renewable/zero-emission sources of electricity. But making meat without animals definitely reduces methane emissions, and methane is a more potent greenhouse gas that CO2.

  56. P. Aitch 2022-11-18

    Lab-grown poultry from a California startup is safe for human consumption, say U.S. regulators.
    It’s a major milestone for cell-cultivated meats, bringing them one step closer to grocery stores and restaurants near you.
    The Food and Drug Administration says it has “no further questions” about the safety of cell-grown chicken from startup Upside Foods, following a pre-market review.
    Upside’s facilities still need to undergo more FDA and Department of Agriculture scrutiny before its chicken heads to market.
    “The FDA is ready to work with additional firms developing cultured animal cell food and production processes to ensure their products are safe and lawful,” the FDA commissioner, Robert Califf, and the director of the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Susan Mayne, said in a statement. – Axios’ Herb Scribner

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