The Master Matrix is one of the few ways counties and citizens can weigh in on factory farm construction in their communities. Without it, there is virtually no way for the county to provide input and say no. Without counties and citizens scrutinizing the Master Matrix, DNR approves nearly every factory farm application that meets the bare minimum requirements.

The Master Matrix isn’t perfect. The real solution is true local control and tougher environmental standards for factory farms. But for now, it’s the only thing giving communities a minimal level of protection against factory farms being built in their communities.

However, in order to use it, each county must opt in to the Master Matrix before January 31st every year.


Figure 1 (Updated 1/23/17)
Green highlights – Master Matrix Resolutions that have been received by the DNR as of 1/17/2017.
Yellow highlights – Counties that we’ve been told have passed the Master Matrix Resolution but have not been received by DNR as of 1/23/2017.
Pink highlights – Counties that have not yet passed the Master Matrix Resolution as of 1/23/2017.


Here are 3 simple steps to passing the Master Matrix in your county:

1) Call your county supervisors and ask them to put it on their next agenda if they haven’t already;

>>Click here for a copy of the resolution and more details<<

2) If your supervisors passed the Master Matrix, make sure they sent a copy to the DNR. They have to do this before January 31st or it doesn’t count.

Your County Supervisors should mail it to:

Gene Tinker, DNR, 502 East 9th Street, Des Moines, IA 50319-0034


Fax it to (515) 725 – 8202

3) Let us know how your conversations went.

We’ll be tracking this information county by county so we can identify areas where supervisors might
be friendly to passing a Moratorium Resolution or a Neighbor Notification Ordinance. You can reach
Jess or Erica at 515-282-0484, jess@iowacci.org, or ericab@iowacci.org.

Join the Clean Water Fight

Factory farm proposing to build near you? Have concerns about an existing facility? We can work with you and your community to fight back and stand up for clean air, clean water, and your quality of life.


LIKE and SHARE for a Clean Water Iowa!

Members to speak on spike in factory farm permits in Iowa

On November 15, the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) will meet in Wright County, where the Board of Supervisors recently approved a 20,000 kill-per-day slaughterhouse.

Iowa CCI and other community members will attend the meeting and call for greater protections from the factory farm industry, including better rules and regulations, inspections that find and fix problems, tough fines and penalties for polluters, local control, and a moratorium on new and expanding factory farms.

>>Click here if you join us at the EPC mtg Nov. 15 in Wright Co.

As reported by the Mason City Globe Gazette on October 31, there have been “95 permit applications or site approvals through Oct. 25, compared to 70 for all of last year and 43 for 2014” in the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Region 2 field office [Figure 1]. Region 2 includes Wright County.

Figure 1

DNR Field Offices Map


 Source: http://www.iowadnr.gov/fieldoffice

According to the DNR’s Animal Feeding Operations online database, applications for medium and large factory farms (those that house 500 animal units or more) have more than doubled in Region 2 this year compared to the previous two years [Figure 2]. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement anticipated this increase following the announcement in March that Prestage Farms wanted to build a massive slaughterhouse in North Central Iowa. The slaughterhouse proposal was voted down in Mason City in May, but was approved in Wright County in August.

Figure 2
Permitted (medium, large) factory farm applications between 1/1/16 – 11/1/16


The DNR Region 3 field office – which has the greatest concentration of factory farms – also saw a spike in medium and large factory farm applications in 2015 following the approval of the Seaboard Triumph Foods slaughterhouse in Sioux City. The slaughterhouse is currently under construction and expected to be operational in 2017.

“We knew from the get-go that Prestage’s proposal didn’t just include a slaughterhouse – it also included a massive expansion of the factory farm industry. That’s what we said all along, and that’s exactly what we’re seeing now in North Central Iowa,” said Veronica Guyader, a Wright County resident who actively spoke out against the slaughterhouse project. “We have to remain vigilant and fight back against all of these new factory farm applications. We need better regulations from our legislature that protect the people of Iowa, not the factory farm industry.”

Cerro Gordo County Supervisors recently recommended denial of a 4,992-head factory farm application due to environmental and community impact concerns. The DNR approved the application anyway, and the supervisors appealed that decision to the Environmental Protection Commission. The Branstad-appointed EPC overturned that appeal in October.

“Since we’re seeing so many factory farms popping up in this area, it’s clear that we need more discretion at the local level. We have a right to decide what happens in our own community,” said Phyllis Willis, a CCI member from Fertile, Iowa. “Right now, the DNR and EPC hold all of the power, and their current rules and regulations don’t have our best interests at heart. We need local control and a moratorium on new and expanding factory farms.”

In the past month and a half, Webster County received and approved the applications of five hog factory farms. A sixth factory farm application in Webster County is slated for review at the upcoming Board of Supervisors meeting. In September, Webster County Supervisors also denied a large factory farm application after hearing public outcry due to environmental, health, and water quality concerns. After the county’s review, the applicant received a Master Matrix score of 315 points – a failing grade.

“I am deeply concerned and troubled by the sudden influx of factory farms coming into my community,” said Diane Keyser of Fort Dodge. “This is only going to get worse in the future unless we do something about it. We need our leaders to stand up to this industry, and we need more protections and local control to address this growing problem.”


 Source: http://www.iowadnr.gov/fieldoffice

Data retrieved from DNR’s online database 11/1/16

Join the Fight

Factory farm proposing to build near you? Have concerns about an existing facility? We can work with you and your community to fight back and stand up for clean air and water and your quality of life.

LIKE and TWEET to stand against factory farms


In late October we put out a call for you to write letters to the editor to help advance our narrative around factory farming and the environment.  We want to make sure our legislators hear loud and clear that:

  • Farming practices that protect our water should be mandatory – voluntary compliance does not work.
  • Big Ag polluters (like Cargill, Prestage, Farm Bureau, and Monsanto) must pay to clean up the water quality mess they’ve created – not taxpayers.
  • Every factory farm in Iowa needs a Clean Water Act permit, meaningful inspections, and tough fines and penalties when violations occur.
  • Iowa needs a factory farm moratorium now!


Wow!  You knocked it out of the park.  Check out these spot-on letters that were submitted by CCI members from around the state.

DNR’s changes to factory farm rules is wrong – Joyce Bollhoefer – Marshalltown Times Republican

CAFO regulations need changing – Tom Willett – Mason City Globe Gazette

EPC changes will make water quality worse – Bernie Fischlowitz-Roberts – Des Moines Register

How, exactly, will sales tax improve water quality? – Erich Riesenberg – Des Moines Register

To Branstad: put moratorium on new hog confinements – Eric Wessels – Des Moines Register

Branstad, Republican-controlled legislature are Iowa’s ruin – Jim Walters – Iowa City Press Citizen


This is one way we can shift the narrative and it’s not to late to add your name to the list of letter writers!

  1. Submit a letter to the editor to your local paper and send a copy to jess@iowacci.org.
  2. Let us know if there’s a letter that we missed.  Send an email to jess@iowacci.org

LIKE and SHARE for a #CleanWaterIowa

CCI members and pipeline fighters are witnessing numerous construction violations by Dakota Access. We’re even seeing these violations captured on tape!

But there’s been no accountability from local county inspectors or the Iowa Utilities Board. (1)

Tell the IUB to crack down on Dakota Access immediately for violating their permits and construction contracts!

Dakota Access…

  • Is required to stop construction in soggy conditions to avoid negatively impacting future productivity of farmland – but they’re violating that term and have even been seen working in rain and standing water.
  • Is leaving trash and burying metal scraps in farm fields, which is not only disrespectful but a major safety hazard and obstacle for future planting and field work.
  • Has not been separating the fertile topsoil from the clay subsoil – a clear and major violation of the Agriculture Impact Mitigation Plan that was part of the IUB permit to ensure fertile farmland after construction.

If you find these reports as appalling as we do – take action today to tell the IUB to hold Dakota Access accountable!

The Iowa Utilities Board must halt construction in Iowa until all construction violations by Dakota Access have been processed and addressed. Our land and water are too important.

LIKE and SHARE to say #NoDAPL

Join the #NoDAPL Resistance! 

LIKE and SHARE to say #NoDAPL and #WaterisLife

Tuesday October 18th , the Department of Natural Resources and its Environmental Protection Commission had a chance to crackdown on factory farms and stand up for our people and planet– but they refused to…again.

EPC and DNR could have:

  • Closed corporate loopholes and protected our water. Instead, they took a step backwards and actually weakened the rules.
  • Listened to the Cerro Gordo Board of Supervisors and local community members and voted no on a new factory farm construction permit. Instead, they approved it.

DNR Director Chuck Gipp says changes must come through the legislature, but we know that’s not true. The DNR said multiple times – in its own report – that they have the authority to make improvements through rulemaking. They just refuse to do so.

That’s “business as usual” for our state leaders – putting the interests of corporate ag before people and planet. Infuriating, no doubt.

We can’t let this slide! Our water is too important!

As clean water continues to stay hot in the public debate, with talk of throwing tax payer dollars at the problem, we must continue to keep the pressure on and lift up our common sense solutions.

Can you write a letter to the editor to help us shift the narrative?

  • Call out the DNR and the EPC on their blatant inaction.
  • We need mandatory rules and regulations and tough enforcement, not voluntary compliance.
  • Make polluters pay to clean up their own messes, not taxpayers.
  • We need a moratorium on new and expanding factory farms now!

We want to get ten letters to the editor published in the next month. Email Erica at ericab@iowacci.org if you need assistance.

They dump it, you drink it. We won’t stop until they clean it up!

Join the Fight

Factory farm proposing to build near you? Have concerns about an existing facility? We can work with you and your community to fight back and stand up for clean air and water and your quality of life.

LIKE and TWEET to stand against factory farms

Iowa DNR passes the buck again on clean water

In May, Iowa’s factory farm rules were opened up for a 5-year review. This was the Department of Natural Resource’s (DNR) and Environmental Protection Commission’s (EPC) opportunity to close loopholes within their factory farm permitting and enforcement authority.

DNR received 1,600 comments on the factory farm rules.  Roughly 90% of the comments supported strengthening the rules, but instead of listening to the people, the DNR continued business-as-usual and listened to the industry.

TAKE ACTION!  EPC to vote on DNR’s proposed rule changes on Tuesday, October 18. Click here.

This is our last chance to weigh in before the vote and demand DNR and EPC close the LLC loophole, hold factory farm corporations accountable, and protect our water. Join us at the CCI Office at 9 am Tuesday, October 18 to testify at the EPC meeting.


Iowans Demand Stronger Rules

The Iowa DNR says over and over again that “their hands are tied” and that improvements to water quality can only happen through legislation. We know that’s not true.

Here are three ways the EPC & DNR could improve water quality, but blatantly choose not to.

1. Close the LLC loophole

Again and again, we see unpermitted factory farms build one right next to another under different LLCs.  Iowans who have fought factory farms from moving in next door are sick and tired of seeing factory farms build just one or two hogs under the permit threshold which allows them skirt around stronger permitting laws.  DNR has the ability through rulemaking to close this loophole —but is passing the buck to the legislature and choosing to do nothing.

EPC & DNR can fix this by:

  • Strengthening the definition of “common area” so factory farms owned by the same person that spread manure on the same fields are considered one large factory farm.
  • Strengthen the definition of “common ownership” so multiple “small” unpermitted factory farms with the same owner(s) are considered one large factory farm, which must comply with manure management plans.

 2. Hold factory farm corporations accountable

Most factory farms in Iowa are operated as “contract growers,” meaning a local person owns the building and the manure, but a big ag corporation– like Cargill, Iowa Select, Maschoff, etc—own the hogs. Currently, when a violation occurs, only the “contact grower” is held responsible.  We think big ag corporations should be responsible for their own mess. The DNR acknowledges that this is possible through rulemaking, but hasn’t made this improvement.

EPC & DNR can fix this by:

  • Strengthening the definition of “controlling interest” so corporate integrators like Prestage, Cargill, & Smithfield can be held liable for violations.
  • Strengthening the definition of “enforcement action” so fines or penalties can be issued to corporate integrators who actually own the hogs.

 3. Protect our water

Iowa is in a water crisis and mandatory manure regulations are one way we can clean it up.  DNR can strengthen manure management laws to make sure manure doesn’t runoff into our water but choose not to.

EPC & DNR can fix this by:

  • Strengthening the definition of “public use area” in the permitting process to include a lake itself and tributaries of the lake, not just the dock or shelter areas.
  • Banning manure application on frozen/snow-covered/water-saturated ground and on karst terrain – no excuses!

Join us on Tuesday, Oct 18 to tell the EPC to strengthen the rules.  Click here to send a message to the EPC right now!

They Dump It, You Drink it, We Won’t Stop til they clean it up!

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