Photo of our standing-room-only Iowa City meeting by Eli Shepard

As we explained at this week’s packed Deportation Defense meetings in Marshalltown, Iowa City, and Des Moines, we’re organizing to:

  • create community response teams to prevent deportations,
  • develop new strategies to reduce the harm of SF 481,
  • build grassroots resistance to anti-immigrant agenda,
  • and get ICE out of Iowa.

A few action items came out of the meetings: 

  • You have been calling Chuck Grassley, Joni Ernst, and David Young – keep calling! Tell them to keep families together, hold ICE accountable, and reform immigration so that our country can be a shining beacon of hope to all. Use this line from our national allies: 1-877-291-2172 – it will patch you directly to your Representative.
  • If you’re interested in getting more involved by connecting your church with a sanctuary network or accompanying people to ICE check-ins, contact Erica Johnson at AFSC of Iowa: 515-209-2733 or afscdesm@afsc.org
  • If you would like to get involved with the Iowa ICE Rapid Response team, call Madeline at 515-282-0484, or email madeline@iowacci.org.

You can watch the entirety of the Des Moines meeting on our Facebook page, and read about it on WHOtv.com and in Little Village.

And, stay tuned to our emails as we roll out more work on this issue.

Further reading:

For people who know something is very wrong but aren’t sure what to do

 

Yesterday, CCI member Emma Schmit drove two hours — each direction — to give two minutes of testimony at the Statehouse.

Why? Because she is surrounded by factory farms which is causing her hometown, Rockwell City, to wither on the vine.

Emma was one of over 50 CCI members — representing 22 counties — who testified at Tuesday’s Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) meeting. We were there to sound the alarm that Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is still not in compliance with the federal Clean Water Act. 

If you believe, like Emma does, that we deserve to have the Clean Water Act fully implemented for existing factory farms in Iowa — I’m asking you to chip in $20, $25 or more if possible today to ramp up the public pressure.

Five years ago, thanks to your relentless pressure, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) forced the Iowa DNR to sign a 5-year Work Plan to bring Iowa into compliance with the Clean Water Act for factory farms.  As a key deadline approaches this August, DNR will be submitting their progress report.

On paper, the DNR hopes to show they’ve checked all the boxes. But with a record number of impaired waterbodies and beach advisories, Iowans know that’s not the case.

In a letter we submitted to the EPA on Tuesday, we laid out the case for why we the DNR is still not in compliance with the Clean Water Act.  The DNR:

  • has not assessed and inspected all 5,000 “unknown” facilities that flew in under the radar.
  • does not have enough resources or inspectors to oversee this industry
  • has failed to issue a single Clean Water Act permit to a polluting hog factory farm.
  • does not have consistency and compliance with inspections and record keeping.

A total of 15 organization signed on in support of our letter.  You can watch our press conference here.

Our eyes are on the August Work Plan deadline and a clean water Iowa. We can’t let DNR off the hook — and we need to make sure EPA doesn’t, either.  Our water is too important.

Luckily, organized action is what CCI members do best.

In the next few months, we’re:

  • ramping up pressure on DNR in person and in the media to continue to sway public opinion towards a moratorium;
  • moblizing and engaging thousands of Iowans who care about our air and water to help us build the public record that DNR is still not in compliance with the Clean Water Act; and
  • building our legal case with our allies at Food and Water Watch, to make sure existing factory farms in Iowa are held to higher standards under the Clean Water Act.

Now is not a time to back down. More and more Iowans are fed up. One if five Iowa counties are calling for action to stop factory farms.

Help us keep the fight to say NO MORE factory farms and YES to clean water hot through the summer and into the election.

Can you chip in $20, $25, $50 or more to make sure we can deliver our clean water message to more Iowans than ever before?

We deserve to have the Clean Water Act fully implemented for existing factory farms in Iowa. And, we can’t just continue adding factory farms to our landscape — we need a moratorium.

THEY dump it. YOU drink it. WE won’t stop ’til THEY clean it up!

(Español abajo)

For years, ICE has been terrorizing our communities with little to no accountability. From the recent raid in Mount Pleasant where workers were racially profiled, detained, and some even tazed or beaten by ICE agents to the consistent individual pick-ups across Iowa, it’s clear that ICE has gone rogue.

Enough is enough.

Join Iowa CCI and ally organizations for a series of meetings across Iowa where we’ll discuss how to keep ICE out of our communities. We’ve invited several powerful immigrant rights organizers from across the country to collaborate with us.

Priscila Martinez is the Texas Immigration Coalition Coordinator for the Workers Defense Action Fund where she organizes to block ICE activity and prevent deportations while lifting up immigrant stories across Texas.

Salvador Cervantes is the Midwest Regional Director for Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), a national organization that works to elevate immigrant rights in politics. Salvador has organized in several states to fight and repeal laws like SF481. 

We’ll discuss several key topics including:

  • Best practices to protect and organize families
  • Key communication strategies to counter ICE’s “criminal” narrative
  • Collaborative efforts to develop local policies that welcome immigrants

Now, more than ever, we must work together to make Iowa a safe and welcoming place for all people.

Join us at one – or all! – of the following events:

Stand up to ICE and tell them NOT IN OUR TOWN!

RSVP TODAY! Then share these events with your friends on social media. The more people we have with us, the more powerful we become.

For a better – more welcoming – Iowa,

Maddie Cano
Community Organizer

P.S. Read about some of the work Priscila Martinez is doing in Texas!

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Durante años, ICE ha estado aterrorizando a nuestras comunidades con poca o ninguna responsabilidad. Desde la reciente incursión en Mount Pleasant, donde los trabajadores fueron racialmente perfilados, detenidos, y algunos incluso tarados o golpeados por los agentes de ICE a las repetidas ataques individuales en Iowa, está claro que ICE se ha convertido en una agencia forajida.

¡Basta!

Únase a Iowa CCI y organizaciones aliadas para una serie de reuniones en Iowa, donde discutiremos cómo mantener el ICE fuera de nuestras comunidades. Hemos invitado a varios organizadores poderosos de derechos de inmigrantes de todo el país para que colaboren con nosotros.

Priscila Martínez es la Coordinadora de la Coalición de Inmigración de Texas para Workers Defense Action Fund, donde se organiza para bloquear la actividad de ICE y prevenir las deportaciones mientras levanta las experiencias de inmigrantes en todo Texas.

Salvador Cervantes es el Director Regional del Medio Oeste del Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM), una organización nacional que trabaja para elevar los derechos de los inmigrantes en la política. Salvador se ha organizado en varios estados para luchar y revocar leyes como SF481.

Discutiremos varios temas clave, que incluyen:

  • Las mejores prácticas para proteger y organizar a las familias
  • Estrategias clave de comunicación para contrarrestar la narrativa “criminal” de ICE
  • Esfuerzos de colaboración para desarrollar políticas locales que reciban inmigrantes

Ahora, más que nunca, debemos trabajar juntos para hacer de Iowa un lugar seguro y acogedor para todas las personas.

Únete a nosotros en uno – o todos! – de los siguientes eventos:

¡Levántate a ICE y diles NO EN NUESTRA COMUNIDAD!

¡RSVP HOY! Luego comparte estos eventos con tus amigos en las redes sociales. Cuantas más personas tenemos con nosotros, más poderosos nos volvemos.

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
CONTACT: Jess Mazour, 515-282-0484 or jess@iowacci.org

 

One Hundred People Gather at Iowa Select Headquarters to Demand an End to Jeff Hansen’s Factory Farm Expansion
Factory farm fighters from across the state stand together calling for a moratorium

Iowa Falls, IA – This afternoon, nearly one hundred people gathered at Iowa Select’s office in Iowa Falls to demand CEO Jeff Hansen withdraw all pending factory farm applications and immediately stop building factory farms. With over 500 factory farms, Iowa Select is the largest pork producer in the state and has been expanding aggressively in the past year, despite mounting public calls for clean water and a moratorium.

“Iowa Select is expanding rapidly all across Iowa with no concern for our rural communities, our health, our water, or our air,” said Julie Duhn, a CCI member from Eldora. “As you can see from all the people here, this is a statewide fightback, and our only hope of stopping this out-of-control industry is if we fight back together. We can’t back down now, or big money corporations like Iowa Select will just continue exploiting us.”

“Factory farms dump pollution on our beautiful state and the industry doesn’t even pretend to care. Our legislators apparently don’t care, either. Since our politicians appear to be bought and sold by the industry, our communities have been stripped of local control with virtually no protections from factory farm pollution,” said Nick Schutt, a CCI member from Alden. “We’re left with no other choice than to take our message directly to Jeff Hansen and demand he stop this out-of-control expansion.”

In 2017, the Hansen family donated $275,000 to the gubernatorial campaign for Governor Kim Reynolds.

Community members delivered a letter to Hansen.

“Building factory farms is not Iowa nice. Polluting our precious water with millions of gallons of untreated manure is not Iowa nice. Sickening our communities with hazardous air emissions is not Iowa nice,” the letter read.

Iowa Select has been the subject of widespread scrutiny because of its massive factory farm expansion over the past year. Iowa CCI identified at least 27 factory farm applications associated with Iowa Select in the past six months, adding to more than 137,000 hogs. Iowa State University’s swine manure calculator estimates that this many finishing hogs would produce 57.5 million gallons of manure per year. These figures may be low, however, because Iowa Select uses various LLCs on their applications, making it difficult to identify all of their factory farms.

In an interview with Successful Farming last year, Hansen acknowledged that the new slaughterhouses coming online – including the Prestage slaughterhouse south of Eagle Grove – are driving his expansion.

The company also regularly builds factory farms just under the threshold that would trigger more state and local oversight. For instance, confinements with 2,500 head of hogs require the Master Matrix – but Iowa Select often avoids it by applying for confinements with 2,490 head of hogs.

“Iowa Select’s huge expansion is just one more sign that we need a factory farm moratorium now,” said Dave Haynes, a CCI member from Duncombe. “We’re at a tipping point. Enough is enough!”

“Iowa Select does not represent our vision for Iowa. We want more family farms, not fewer. We want clean water, not dirty water. We want thriving communities, not corporate-controlled communities,” said Emma Schmit, a CCI member from Rockwell City. “For that to happen, it takes all of us coming together in this battle of David vs. Goliath.”

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a statewide, grassroots people’s action group that uses community organizing to win public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics and polluters. CCI has been fighting to put people first for over 40 years. Follow us on Twitter at @iowacci.

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Bruce Rastetter has applied to build a 4,999 head factory farm about 2 miles North of Williams.  This factory farm alone will add 1,642,172 gallons of manure into our watershed.

Hamilton County already has 212 medium or large factory farms.

Enough is enough. 

Agribusiness corporations like Summit Farms get the profits—we get the pollution.

Factory farms lower our property values, kick independent family farmers out of business, pollute our water and air, and tear our communities apart.

Our air, water, and communities are more important than Bruce Rastetter’s profits.

Take Action Now!!!!

  1. Send an email to the Hamilton County Supervisors asking them to take points off the Master Matrix.
  2. Join us on Tuesday, March 6 @ 6:00 pm at the Williams Fire Station on Locust Street for a community planning meeting.

When we stand together, organize, and fight back against greedy proposal like these, we win.

 

Click the link below to read CCI’s full objections to the Rastetter – Williams 15 factory farm application.

Rastetter Objection+cover letter+enclosures

 

 

Press release:

DNR/EPC MISSED MAJOR ERROR IN IOWA SELECT FACTORY FARM APPLICATION

Today Iowa’s Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) took no action on a Humboldt County appeal of a factory farm permit approved by DNR in January, despite being denied at the county level.   However, county officials say they will be voting to appeal this in District Court at an upcoming meeting, if ultimately approved.

During the hearing it was brought to everyone’s attention that Iowa DNR did not do it’s due diligence after Iowa Select submitted an apparently erroneous application.  The nearest home to the proposed factory farm is also a business; which changes the points they received for separation distances from a commercial enterprise, item 3 on the Master Matrix.  This would lower the Master Matrix score from 445 to 420 – a failing grade which would automatically deny the permit to build the factory farm.

“It appears that Iowa Select is not a good neighbor because if they were they would have known about our business,” said Lynsy Harrigan, daughter of the nearest neighbors of the proposed factory farm in Humboldt County.  “It seems  like Iowa Select only cares about its profits, not about the Iowans they negatively impact.  We need local control.”

However, Iowa Select attempted to make a case that the neighbors business was not a business.  State law (567—65.1 (459,459B) Definitions) says:

“Commercial enterprise” means a building which is used as a part of a business that manufactures goods, delivers services, or sells goods or services, which is customarily and regularly used by the general public during the entire calendar year and which is connected to electric, water, and sewer systems. A commercial enterprise does not include a farm operation.

The business, located less than a quarter mile away, meets all the definitions of a commercial enterprise under state law.

To address this new finding, EPC member Bob Sinclair, made a motion to table the decision, which failed.  Then EPC member Mary Boote, motioned to approve the application, which also failed.

EPC member Howard Hill abstained from voting because of a conflict of interest having worked for Iowa Select most of his life. This conflict of interest comes in addition to the $275,000 in campaign donations to Governor Reynolds from the owners of Iowa Select.

Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement will continue to organize community members in Humboldt County as they challenge Iowa Select’s unwanted expansion.

This hearing also comes after two more counties – Fremont and Fayette – recently passed resolutions calling for more protections from the factory farm industry.

According to the USDA Ag Census, in 1978, Iowa had 57,325 farmers raising hogs on diversified livestock operations all across the state.  But in 2012, we had just 6,266 farmers raising hogs,” said Shari Hawk, CCI member from Ankeny.  “As we’ve increased the number of factory farms in our state, we’ve lost our independent family farmers who were once the backbone of our communities.  It’s time for a moratorium on factory farms.”

Iowa Select is the largest hog producer in Iowa and the fifth largest nationally. The factory farm application contested by Humboldt County is one of 20+ factory farms that Iowa Select proposed in the span of about two months. The EPC was originally scheduled to hear Hardin County’s appeal of an Iowa Select factory farm as well, but Iowa Select withdrew that application in response to mounting public pressure.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a statewide, grassroots people’s action group that uses community organizing to win public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics and polluters. CCI has been fighting to put people first for over 40 years. Follow us on Twitter at @iowacci.

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