Thanks to our incredible members who boldly took action and stood up for what’s right all year!
Today, we celebrate you and the great work we’ve done to fight of the Iowa we want to see.
For another inspiring story, check out the work our sister org, Iowa CCI Action, did in 2016. Click here!
LIKE and SHARE below to celebrate with your friends an incredible year!

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



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.”



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
  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.