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Listen to your neighbors when considering Wholestones – SiouxFalls.Business

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The fatigue factor is real.

There are many things I can blame, such as less sunshine hours, rising daily costs, seasonal allergies, and prevalent viruses. Again, just the uncertainty of employment and the seemingly general unpredictability of life.

And of course add the election year. So you could also point out that political fatigue is superimposed on all of this, right?

Our publications do not accept political advertising, as I have for nearly six years. We occasionally have partners write articles on specific political issues, but neither nor will display ads about candidates or voting issues.

There are many reasons for that, but reader fatigue is right there. We hope our publications are a place where you can learn about all the other factors that drive our business and the wider community.

But when business and politics intersect, they have to be dealt with in the most credible way possible. In the last few weeks and the next few weeks, I could have written a lot more about our community’s slaughterhouse voting issue.

Before we go any further, could you explain your use of the term “slaughterhouse”? I’ve been covering this industry for many years and have always referred to these facilities as meat processing plants. Of course, it doesn’t sound as scary or inflammatory as “slaughterhouse”, but it’s a more accurate term.

Digression. Covering all legal actions, advertising tactics, and endorsements of either side in relation to this matter cannot be justified.

But you might be interested in what I learned when I started calling Fremont, Nebraska.

If you want to know someone’s true story, asking your neighbors is always a good bet.

In this case, I asked some people in Fremont about their experiences with Wholestone. The company opened in Fremont in 2018 after purchasing a processing facility from Hormel Foods. Wholestone then entered into a multi-year deal to supply Hormel with pork ingredients.

To be fair, Fremont is not Sioux Falls. A community of approximately 27,000 people located 30-45 minutes from Omaha. It also has a chicken and beef processing plant. This is a big part of the community’s economy, so when new players came to town they were understandably a little nervous. I have a lot of experience that I know it’s not.

Mayor Joey Spellerberg, who took office in late 2020 and also runs a travel agency, said, “Hallstone did everything they set out to do. They treat their employees very well.” They have a great benefit package.It’s a great place to work.They’ve never been unwilling to answer our questions.It’s definitely a great partnership.”

As a reporter, Wholestone has never been unwilling to answer my questions. Board Chairman Luke Minion did this interview with me earlier this year and was nothing to be ashamed of:

There are other things you should know about Wholestone.

Fremont United Way Executive Director Christy Fiala told me that about half of Wholestone employees choose United Way deductions from their paychecks and Wholestone is 100% matched with their contributions. The company also supports employee volunteerism, helping out in a big way when the town was hit by devastating floods in 2019.

“My overall impression of Hallstone is that they come to the community to talk and see how they can help, how they can partner,” Fiala said. “I am very impressed. They use their expertise to serve their communities. These are just two of many examples, and I don’t mean to say that about every organization in this community, but I’m adamant about Hallstone.

We also spoke with Diane Mallette, chair of the Greater Fremont Development Council, the economic development arm of the region. She is also on the board of local manufacturers that support the construction industry.

“No. 1, you can’t get a better company as long as you’re a community steward,” she said. I think everyone thought it would be a cut and kill rather than a processed ham or hot dog, but honestly, it didn’t matter at all. I thought it would go away, but it hasn’t. And it’s a very clean operation and it’s cutting edge. They’ve made so many improvements that it’s amazing.”

I wasn’t sure what to expect with these calls, but it was eye-opening to hear such bombastic praise.

And in all fairness, those who oppose Wholestone’s plans will tell me they have nothing against the company itself. As far as we know, it’s hard to argue with a business model that encourages local producers to become part of the business and has a good track record as a company.

Their concern, as I understand it, is the location of the facility, as their initiative mandates that new processing plants be built outside the city limits.

As written, there are two points in this ballot measure that I think are worth considering.

First, the city of Sioux Falls can change from month to month. There are ongoing annexations. As such, today’s projects outside city boundaries may become tomorrow’s ‘islands’. Although not technically annexed, the city’s fortunes have grown around it.

Second, my biggest problem with the initiative being written is that it allows Smithfield to continue expanding downtown.

Not long ago, I was standing on the top floor of the new 10-story Bancorp Building in Chelapa Place, looking out over Smithfield in the distance. If we discuss whether a particular location is suitable for slaughter, we can also discuss how to convince Smithfield to build elsewhere, or partner with Hallstone as Hormel did. I hope. If Smithfield’s only option is to expand downtown, that conversation can’t and never will happen. By passing, we ensure that our community is the only place Smithfield’s growth happens.

Now let’s deal with the elephant in the room. The question I asked the interviewees in Nebraska and my guess is the main reason for the opposition.

How bad is the smell?

“Okay, so we’re at their back door,” Mallett told me. “That means our factory is not far away. We are very close to them. May be, but it’s gone by the time we go out to lunch.I said they have new measures they said they would put in place and they are working on them and will be even better.It was Hormel It’s a lot better than it was when we were there and we’re working on improving it.”

When I asked Fiala on United Way, she just laughed.

“Yeah, people want to know,” she said. “I live about a mile from the factory, and probably work about a half mile further than that, and I don’t smell it. It’s beautiful, it doesn’t smell, and they manage a clean and professional environment.”

She also has several friends and family members who work for Wholestone.

I gave the mayor permission because I thought he’d guess what an elected official would argue.

A new plant with a new state-of-the-art filtration system is the community’s best chance to accommodate agriculture-related jobs that serve a wide range of demographics while addressing factors that keep some people away. Please remember

I hope the community doesn’t have to vote for this at all and those who disagree can work with Hallstone to mitigate the environmental factors of concern as much as possible.

Regardless of how you vote on this issue in the end, I think you know best how this company does business and what kind of community impact its existence has. I thought you should know what I found when I asked people who believe in

Postscript: For those unfamiliar with Hallstone’s proposed location, it’s a 170-acre site in the area of ​​Benson Road and Interstate 229 near Gage Brothers Concrete Materials. Some people weren’t sure about this, and some said they thought it was proposed downtown!