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
  2. Let us know if there’s a letter that we missed.  Send an email to

LIKE and SHARE for a #CleanWaterIowa

Gov. Terry Branstad says if he gets a Republican majority at the Statehouse, “You ain’t seen nothing yet.” Iowans need to work, pray — and vote — to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Branstad travels the world to give away Iowa jobs and manufacturing to foreign and multinational corporations. He’s been willing to sacrifice our soil, water, small towns and family farms for his version of “globalization.” Industrial agriculture — which needs more lawyers and investors than farmers — has covered our state with confinement feeding operations that pollute with impunity, and Branstad has packed the necessary regulatory bodies with his buddies and contributors.

Branstad says a Republican Senate will deal with water quality. Forgive me while I laugh out loud. The first order of business will be to destroy the unions, cut funding for education and further reduce taxes for the wealthy.

Terry Branstad is Donald Trump’s biggest Iowa supporter. They are cut from the same cloth. Believe either one at your peril.

Jim Walters

Iowa City

Published by Iowa City Press Citizen.

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.