Long Term Legislation to Support Local Businesses
Lieutenant Governor Larry Rhoden and Senate Ag Chair Gary Cammack met with the Wall Economic Development Committee to discuss long term legislation for the benefit of local businesses highlighting the Beef Industry on October 26. Included in the meeting was the review of the Wall Industrial Park progress, design, and certification. As well as a presentation and tour from Wall Meat owned and operated by Ken Charfauros and Janet Niehaus.
The Wall Economic Development Committee (WEDC) has begun the process for the development of the Wall Industrial Park. The land has been provided and the site plan drawn. The construction dates are to be determined. WEDC has applied for the Park to be qualified as a South Dakota Certified Light Industrial Park, which will be the only certified industrial park in Western South Dakota. Wall Meat is one example of the type of business that WEDC is targeting for the new Wall Industrial Park. WEDC wants businesses that are looking to relocate or expand into the new facility.
With the initiation of the CARES Act earlier this year many businesses have sought out the government assistance programs which has prompted the discussion for long term legislation to support businesses. Businesses such as Wall Meat, one of only two meat processing plants in all of Western South Dakota. Wall Meat now operate out of a facility that is 54 years old. After COVID-19 hit the processing plant began operating at two hundred percent and business began to back up. Owner Ken Charfaurous wondered how long they could continue to operate at such a high capacity before the need for expansion is crucial. However, Charfauros has a multi-phased plan for expansion of his business and seeks government support through funding and certifications.
Covid money has assisted in helping businesses remain open through the crisis, its fast money and requires fast action. However, it does not have provisions for long term issues like expansion, renovation, updating to new equipment and new construction, and education for the future. With new COVID concerns consumers are wanting to know where their food, their meat, is coming from. Much of South Dakota’s beef is shipped out of state for processing and then shipped back for consumption and distribution. This causes prices to rise and brings quality concerns. Legislation is needed to provide long term grants and funding for upgrades, expansion, new construction for new buildings, new equipment, and training and education such as apprentice programs.
Consumers desire for confidence in their food/meat product quality has driven the need for more certified producers. This also has created a greater need for locally sourced beef. Wall Meat consumers can see the brands of the local ranches where the meats are sourced at the current company building. Literally providing an image of a pasture to table program currently working. It is the hope that the new Industrial Park and new legislation will encourage and support growth for local businesses such as Wall Meat for years to come.