Do you care about clean water? Do you want to join the movement to create vibrant rural communities in Iowa? One way to do that is by meeting with your elected officials, and communicating the need for a moratorium on factory farms.

We’ve prepared a toolkit you can use when attending attending forums with your legislator. Forums are a great place for your voice to be heard and to raise your concerns with your elected officials. 

The session begins in January 2019, but you can begin reviewing the toolkit now

Iowa, we have a problem:

In Iowa,there are over 10,000 factory farms that produce more than 22 billion gallons of untreated manure which runs off our land and into our water.  In 2013, thanks to the de-delegation petition filed by Iowa CCI members, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)agreed that Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wasn’t enforcing the Clean Water Act for factory farms.

The DNR was given five years to come into compliance.  Their time is almost up, and soon, the DNR will submit a final report to EPA. DNR’s work may look good on paper but nothing has really changed in Iowa.

We still have manure spills, a record number of impaired water bodies and beach advisories, inadequate DNR staffing levels, and not enough data to know what’s really going on.

We deserve to have the Clean Water Act fully implemented in Iowa. 

Click here to download the full overview and timeline.

Tuesday in Calhoun County, County Supervisors appealed the Iowa Department of Natural Resources decision to permit Burr Oak Growers LLC.

Supervisors responded to efforts of Iowa CCI members who have been fighting to stop this factory farm because of water quality, air quality, and quality of life concerns. You held community planning meetings, gathered signatures, and contributed public testimony in opposition to out-of-state Burr Oak Growers LLC’s plan to expand factory farm operations in Iowa.

This was the first time the County Supervisors have voted to appeal an intent to permit by the DNR. The decision is a product of the inundation of factory farms in Calhoun County. There are already 164 factory farms in the county.

Contact:
Jess Mazour, Community Organizer, 515-282-0484, jess@iowacci.org

Des Moines, IA. – The Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) legislative committee finalized their 2019 legislative priorities at their annual meeting last week.  The legislative recommendations include changes to Iowa’s factory farm permitting and tax systems.

Iowa CCI members are pointing to the action as a sign of growing support for a factory farm moratorium on new and expanding factory farms in Iowa.

The ISAC legislative proposal includes addressing the failure of the Master Matrix and making factory farms pay their fair share of taxes:

  • “As this subject continues to be of growing concern to some county boards of supervisors, ISAC strongly encourages that this [Master Matrix] review be conducted by 2020.”
  • “The result is that the construction of any new agricultural building adds zero net value to Iowa’s property tax base.  This situation is doubly problematic because large-scale livestock operations and grain facilities impose significant additional costs on counties, such as for road maintenance, without expanding the tax base to help pay for those costs.”

“It’s about time that ISAC recognizes that factory farms are harming Iowa counties – not helping them,” said Barb Kalbach, family farmer and CCI member from Dexter. “We’ve tried small tweaks to the Master Matrix, filing complaints about manure management plans, lobbying against tax exemptions, and the legislature is unwilling to act.”

“As an independent family farmer, I pay my fair share of taxes. My corn and soybean farming operation adds revenue and value to Adair County. Our current tax policies allow factory farms to skirt their fair share of taxes. That forces everyone in the county to make up the difference.” Added Kalbach.

Iowa CCI members have pointed out that factory farms are exempt from all kinds of taxes that independent family farmers aren’t exempted from.  Factory farm buildings add no new tax revenues to county coffers.  Manure pits get a tax break under the Pollution Control Tax Exemption.  Wholesale rates on water and electricity are obtained, and factory farms don’t pay sales tax on key inputs, like feed and energy.

The lack of county revenue from the factory farm industry has forced some counties to change their Local Option Sales Tax (LOST) formula – a local program to offset propoerty taxes.

“My roads are constantly being torn up by the dozens of daily semi-trucks driving past my house.  I’m afraid my daughters are going to get in an accident because of the status of the roads,” said Nick Schutt, CCI member and resident of Hardin County.

“Now the Hardin County Supervisors want to change our LOST formula. If implemented, property owners property taxes will increase so the county can keep up with road maintenance,”  added Schutt.

The Hardin County Supervisors have proposed changes to the LOST formula.  Right now 80% of LOST revenue in Hardin County is going to offset property taxes.  The proposed formula would change that to 40% for offsetting property taxes and 40% for maintenance, improvement, and construction of roads and bridges.

The Hardin County LOST formula change will be on the ballot in November.

Last year, CCI members gathered input from Iowans affected by factory farms across the state and filed rulemaking to strengthen the Master Matrix with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).  The DNR dismissed the entire rulemaking petition without considering changes to protect our air, water, land, and communities.

“We have already submitted our recommended Master Matrix changes to the DNR and the legislature.  They refuse to act.  That’s why we’re calling for a moratorium on all new and expanding factory farms.  We can’t wait for little tweaks anymore.  We need to stop the expansion now,” said Emma Schmit, Iowa CCI member in Calhoun County.

As of today, CCI members and allies have successfully organized 23 counties to pass resolutions calling for a moratorium, local control, and/or stronger protections from the factory farm industry.

 

Click here to view the ISAC 2019 legislative proposals

JOB TYPE

Full Time

SALARY

Minimum: $32,200
Maximum: $32,200
Details: Listed salary for entry level organizer, higher salary potential based on experience.

PUBLISHED

08/20/2018

START DATE

10/01/2018

APPLICATION DEADLINE

09/15/2018

ADDRESS

2001 Forest Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311
United States

DESCRIPTION

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is looking to hire a Community Organizer to join our dedicated, fired-up staff team. The organizer’s primary focus will be to develop and execute grassroots organizing campaigns that build people-power, shift narrative, and directly confront corporate power to win concrete change that makes our communities more just and democratic – and makes life better for a lot more people.

 

The organizer we hire will work on our Farming & the Environment team. At a time of massive factory farm expansion and a state clean water crisis, rural and urban Iowans are building momentum and power to say YES to clean water and NO MORE to factory farms. CCI members are at the forefront of this hot button, corporate-power issue in Iowa.

We’re looking for someone who’s eager to help execute an ambitious plan to exponentially expand our people-power – and win justice. We’re looking for someone who’s ready to build relationships with lots and lots of grassroots people and develop them to be leaders in their community. If that sounds like you, apply for this job!

The ideal candidate is a good listener, an avid learner, driven, eternally optimistic, and flexible. They should be comfortable juggling multiple tasks, and thrive in a fast-paced team environment.

Most of all, they should have a strong desire to help shape the way people view the world, get people to act and help CCI grow. A sense of humor is a must!

About Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement

Iowa CCI is a forward-thinking, agenda-setting, speak-truth-to-power community organizing group that knows how to mobilize lots of everyday people to stand up for what’s right and put pressure where it needs to be put to win policies that put people first. For more than 40 years, our mission has been simple: organize everyday people to be a powerful force for justice.

Our current organizing campaigns include: Clean Water Fight/Stop Factory Farms, Fight for $15/Worker Rights, Immigrant Rights/Justice, Racial Justice/Stop Racial Profiling, Healthcare for All, Clean Energy Future, and electoral work (movement politics) to change “business as usual” politics.

Our 4,800 dues-paying members across the state believe you don’t have to stand by and just let things happen, which is probably why we’re growing so much. We believe in getting things done to put people before profits and communities before corporations. We view this troublesome time as a clear call to action and an opportunity to build political power to shape the Iowa we want and need to see.

About the Community Organizer Position:

The Community Organizer is responsible for working with their direct supervisor and organizing team to develop and implement effective organizing strategies and tactics to build base, shift worldview, and win. The organizer will work out of our statewide headquarters in Des Moines.

Primary Responsibilities:

Campaign Development and Execution:

Work collaboratively with program team to design and implement strategic plans for organizing campaigns.

Conduct research on issues important to the organization and our campaigns, research issues raised by members, and develop leaders to do research themselves.

Develop plans for, and execute meetings with, CCI members to create action strategies and plans for winning on issues and achieving goals.

Base-building and Leadership Development:

Create and lead popular education and skill building trainings to develop the leadership of CCI members.

Meet with community members on issues impacting them, determine their needs, and implement strategies to sign them up as dues-paying members of CCI and emerging leaders in the organization.

Lead members in carrying out agreed upon strategies to win concrete victories.

Communicating Our Work:

Craft messages and develop media strategies to raise awareness about issues and build support for our organizing, worldview and theory of change.

Speak to the media on our issues, and identify and train leaders to be media spokespeople on matters important to the organization.

Take complex issues/concepts and communicate them in an easy to understand manner with our members and the general public.

Fundraising:

Create narratives for grant requests and grant reports as needed, as well as cultivate and maintain relationships with current and prospective funders.

Research grant opportunities and other funding opportunities for the organization.

Collaborate with our development team to create strategies to move members from basic-level membership to monthly giving and/or major donors.

Participate in periodic phone banks and other activities aimed at raising more money for the organization.

 

Qualifications:

Ability to work well with everyday people from all walks of life

Excellent writing and interpersonal communication skills

Excellent strategic thinking and decision making skills, and attention to detail

Excellent computer skills

Ability to work independently and as part of a team

Ability to organize and manage multiple projects while working in a team setting

Not afraid to use confrontation as a tactic for winning justice

Must have a car or have access to a car on a daily basis

BENEFITS

Full health, dental & vision coverage

Generous paid vacation

Flexible and stimulating work environment

PROFESSIONAL LEVEL

None specified

MINIMUM EDUCATION REQUIRED

No requirement

HOW TO APPLY

hugh@iowacci.org
http://iowacci.org

Email resume, cover letter and three references by September 15, 2018 to:

Hugh Espey, Executive Director – hugh@iowacci.org

Please put “Community Organizer” in the subject line.

 

July 26, 2018

 

Statement from Campaign for Family Farms & the Environment (CFFE) on President Trump’s 7.26.18 visit to Iowa

 

President Trump’s bailout is a Band Aid for a farm economy that is hemorrhaging. We need to ask why U.S. farmers and rural communities are so vulnerable to tariffs from other countries. The answer is a broken farm policy, created by corporate agribusiness, that prioritizes overproduction over everything else — including our farmers, our communities and our environment.

 

Here in Iowa, we see the results of this Farm Bill in the wave of new and expanding factory farms producing pork for export markets. Iowa communities are already dealing with 750 impaired waterways; the loss of independent family farm livestock producers, and the decline of our rural communities, all caused by over 10,000 factory farms in this state. Nearly all the benefits are extracted to the corporations who do the exporting.

The expansion of new factory farms is fueled with government-backed loans to build new factory farms, economic development funding to help locate new slaughterhouses, and government subsidies for factory farms to handle the massive amounts of manure they create.

 

Decades of corporate-controlled markets and farm policy that incentivize overproduction have put farmers in this vulnerable position — dependent on fickle export markets, that can vanish overnight. We need a functional marketplace where farmers are paid fairly, our rural communities supported and our environment protected.  

 

Congress is working on the Farm Bill right now. Instead of pointing fingers about the right short-term measure to help farmers survive Trump’s trade war, let’s fix our broken farm policy. A good first step would be to stop corporate factory farms from exploiting taxpayer-funded conservation programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and the taxpayer-funded guaranteed loan program to build even more factory farms.

 

CFFE consists of Dakota Rural Action (SD), Food & Water Watch, Institute for Ag & Trade Policy, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (IA), Land Stewardship Project (MN) & Missouri Rural Crisis Center (MO).