In a venture touted by South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow as "one hot deal," promoters of a new egg cooperative hope to break ground this month on the first of 10 barns north of Flandreau that will eventually house up to 750,000 hens, laying 186 millions eggs a year.
Seeking investors at a minimum of $10,100 apiece, the Dakota Layers Cooperative (DLC) held informational meetings in Minnesota and South Dakota late last year. The co-op expects to raise about $5 million from farmer investors, with the rest of the $10.6 million project financed through grants and loans. Farmer investors must also agree to sell the co-op up to 4,000 bushels of corn each year for chicken feed. DLC organizers, who said their venture was delayed by a 1998 amendment to the state constitution which restricts corporate farming, signed an exclusive marketing contract with an Arizona egg business that plans to sell the eggs in metropolitan markets between South Dakota and Arizona.