The Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture came out last week asking for a moratorium on hog confinements [Iowans wanting improved water call for an end to factory farms, Sept. 22]. We know Gov. Terry Branstad doesn’t care about the environment, but he does care about corporate ag.

The Pork Network recently published a report stating that farrow-to-finish operations lost $15 per head two weeks ago,  up $8 per head from the week before. Adding confinements will drive the value down even further. A moratorium will help the ag industry. We know they won’t do anything voluntarily, so Branstad should help them out.

— Eric Wessels, Dallas Center

Published in the Des Moines Register.

he proposed sales tax to pay for water quality projects is a lot like the weather — everyone seems to be lobbying for the new sales tax, but no one is willing to estimate what it will accomplish [Joining the struggle for clean water, Sept. 18]. A 15 percent reduction in nutrient runoff? Or 25 percent?

What is the next step, a decade and a couple more billion tax dollars later, when Iowa’s water remains polluted?

If Iowa’s secretary of agriculture wants a revenue-neutral solution, require Iowa’s rich farmland owners to implement Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy to receive existing state and federal subsidies. Per the strategy, this would reduce runoff by around two-thirds, at no additional cost to taxpayers.

— Erich Riesenberg, Des Moines

Published in the Des Moines Register.

Having attended the Oct. 18 meeting of the Environmental Protection Commission and a prior Department of Natural Resources meeting on regulations governing factory farms, it’s clear that the DNR is a textbook example of agency capture [Iowa wimps out on animal confinement rules, environmentalists complain, Oct. 18]. Rather than regulating the industrial animal agriculture industry in the public interest, the industry essentially regulates the DNR.

Industry groups were consulted well before the rules review process was even announced, and they told DNR what changes were acceptable to them and which ones were not. Rather than strengthening factory farm regulations to protect our air, water and rural communities, as 90 percent of public comments urged DNR to do, DNR’s changes approved by the EPC will make our state’s water quality situation even worse.

DNR is unwilling to properly regulate the more than 8,000 factory farms in this state to address their numerous and well-documented environmental impacts. We need a moratorium on new and expanded factory farms in Iowa. It’s common sense, expressed well by the first rule of holes: When you’re in one, stop digging.

— Bernie Fischlowitz-Roberts, Grinnell

Published in the Des Moines Register.

Since Prestage was given the go-ahead to build in Wright County, six confined-animal feeding operation permits have been applied for in Webster County and one in Humboldt County, all within 3 miles of the plant site. And we have one in Cerro Gordo County, north of Ventura, that our county supervisors are courageously opposing. I hope they choose to continue to fight it.

We were repeatedly told “no more CAFOS were needed” — made out to be kooks, spreading “misinformation.” Millions of gallons of manure will be spread across the fields within miles of these CAFOs. That would’ve been here.

There was a story about how the food pantries have been cleaned out in Storm Lake. Remember being told how great the slaughterhouse was for that community? That would’ve been here.

Don’t care? Doesn’t affect you? What about your water bills doubling, or more, when communities have to put in infrastructure to remove nitrites to safe levels? Or you can buy bottled water … I wonder how much the price of that will go up when municipal water is unsafe?

What will be the ripple effects to businesses and jobs if Clear Lake and Ventura smell of manure? You don’t believe tourism will be affected?

Prestage may be gone from here, but the threat of more CAFOS is not. The laws and regulations are so weak, it’s difficult to stop them.

Ironically, the pork producers announced a glut of hogs driving prices down to the point they’re losing $10 a head currently, possibly going to $30 in the next year.

When you go to the polls, know how your representatives stand on this issue, from county supervisors to state legislators.

These regulations, particularly the master matrix regulation, on CAFOS, need to be revised and this governor and his ilk need to go when the time comes.

Tom Willett, Mason City

Published in the Mason City Globe Gazette.

Lots of us recreate on lakes with friends and family. For hours at a time, we boat, canoe and kayak. Needless to say, we congregate there.

But the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) doesn’t see it that way.

In their recent revisions to factory farm rules, the DNR decided lakes are no longer considered a “public use area.” They erased the word “lakes” from the definition, meaning factory farms can build even closer to these precious water bodies.

Why would DNR do this, you ask?

As revealed by Iowa CCI’s Freedom of Information Act request, the change was made at the behest of the Iowa Pork Producers Association. That’s right: the very industry DNR is charged with regulating.

It’s clear as day that Gov. Branstad’s DNR isn’t working for the people of Iowa and certainly isn’t protecting our natural resources. All Iowans should be up in arms about this deliberate decision to weaken factory farm rules at the expense of our water and communities. The continual deregulation of this industry leaves us with no choice but to call for a moratorium on any new or expanding factory farms!

Published in the Marshalltown Times Republican.


Great video of member and Bakken Pipeline Resistance fighter Julia Slocum questioning who should be fined and shut down – Dakota Access who is violating agreements with landowners all over the state or peaceful water protectors standing up for our land, water and each other?

Watch and SHARE to say #NoDAPL #NoBakken #WaterisLife.