Who is behind surge in factory farm construction

Factory farms are not the “smell of money,” but the polluting stench of corporate ag.


These giant hog factory corporations take the profits and leave our local communities with the problems – lower property values, damaged to our roads and bridges, and more polluted water ways.


Behind almost all of the new and expanding factory farms across the state are a small handful of giant hog factory corporations:


Prestage Farms

Based in North Carolina, Prestage Farms is the fifth largest hog corporation in the country with 165,000 sows. They have more than 100 factory farms across the state, including 10 sites already in Poweshiek County where they are trying to build or expand.

Iowa Select Farms

Based in Iowa Falls, Iowa Select Farms is the sixth largest hog corporation in the country with 160,000 sows, with a history of environmental and permit violations here in Iowa. They are looking to do a massive expansion in Northeast Iowa.


Based in Minnesota, Cargill is one of the largest privately held corporations in the world. It’s the eighth largest hog corporation in the country with 123,000 sows, slaughtering more than 10 million hogs each year. In addition to backing factory farm construction, they own feed mills and pork processing facilities.

You will rarely see Cargill’s name on a construction permit, but if you do a little digging you will find that they are behind some of the most aggressive factory farm expansion in the state.  We have heard they are looking to expand at least 30 sites in Southeast Iowa alone.


Think about the numbers: We can conservatively estimate that each sow farrows 20 pigs a year. That helps put Prestage’s 165,000 sows a year in perspective.


Our factory farm organizing is as much about confronting corporate power as it is helping everyday Iowans protect our environment and stand up for their quality of life. We need to strong policies, regulations and economy that benefits the common good not just corporate interests.

Join the Fight

Tell the Iowa DNR to crack down on factory farms and say no to weakened environmental enforcement. Take action NOW.

Learn More

 << Return to Factory Farm fight page