– by Chris Petersen
There is frustration in rural Iowa! How would you city folks like it if there was very little regulation of siting or oversight of any industry locating or operating in your neighborhoods? At a moment’s notice industry could swoop in unexpectedly and set up shop with little say what so ever, I assume a vast
majority of people would immediately be up in arms and try to stop it!
In rural Iowa this is exactly what is happening with construction permitting of factory farms, everything you and your family care about is immediately at risk. Included would be your personal health, well water, air quality, quality of life, home equity and property salability. Ultimately, the reality of this new neighbor would be a huge nuisance in itself, starting with the industrial traffic and nauseous odor!
As a traditional family pig farmer all my life I am appalled at the results of “Modern Agriculture” as the industry calls it. Iowa livestock farming has been transformed over the last 25 years. As an example 91% of independent local family pig farmers have quit or been forced out. One resulting fact is Iowa’s water quality is now 49th nationally, which is due to bad farming practices and nutrient mismanagement. Because of no local oversight/control Iowa has 3 times the impaired waterways than it did 25 years ago!
With more hogs and egg layers than ever in Iowa, traditional local family farmers have been replaced by confinements owned or controlled by huge industrial integrators (vast majority of hogs and chickens), including 25% of all hogs in Iowa controlled by communist China through the acquisition of Smithfield!
In 1995 rural residents were stripped of local control of siting of facilities (thanks to Farm Bureau) when the takeover in livestock farming first started. Rural folks were even denied the right to sue over nuisance! After lots of rural and political turmoil, the Iowa legislature in 2002 came up with a dysfunctional matrix scoring system that is under state guidelines. This system gives lip service to what the county supervisors, residents, and cities in close proximity, deem as serious impacts.
We need local control back! All politics should start and function at the Local Township or county supervisor level, as they are elected by the local community. In today’s political world above the local level, with few exceptions, we have two types of politicians – buffaloed or bought! We need to advocate changing dysfunctional laws and politics that provide loopholes for the factory farm industry! An example is Dickinson County IA (IA Great Lakes) supervisors acquiring the political courage to send a survey letter to all 99 county supervisors asking if they support local control! Linn County and all surrounding county residents, please call your supervisors asking them to support local control!
We all hopefully want an inviting and healthy quality of life in Iowa that residents and visitors can be proud of, as a community we can make that happen!
Clear Lake, Iowa