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.
DNR Field Offices Map
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.
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.”
Data retrieved from DNR’s online database 11/1/16
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