Sonstegard Foods in Sioux Falls wants to put 6 million egg-laying chickens in a plant outside of Parker. Why 6 million chickens? Pete Sonstegard explains.

“There’s nothing really magical about 6 million chickens," Sonstegard, a third generation "eggman," said. "You know, that’s the size of our operation in Iowa that we have today, we’re more comfortable with that number. But you look at the costs associated with putting in a processing plant, you have the feed mill, and just the actual infrastructure and the more infrastructure you add on, the cheaper the cost is the more birds you have.”

Sonstegard said he came across the potential site outside of Parker on his family’s way home from the Turner County fair. He says the proposed site has what his company needs: land, access to water and grain and good roads.

As to concerns about odor and noise, Sonstegard says that won’t be a problem—and he’d live by it.

“I grew up a ¼ mile from our facility in Howard Lake, Minnesota where we first started," Sonstegard said. "So have a lived by the facility? Absolutely. You know, our manager lives right across the street from our chicken farm in Iowa. If my wife were to move out in the country, I wouldn’t mind living there.”

The plant is still pending final approval by Turner County. Opponents have filed a lawsuit against Sonstegard Foods and the Turner County Commission in state circuit court to stop it.

Sonstegard made his comments Tuesday on KSOO’s Viewpoint University.