Bruce Rastetter has applied to build a 4,999 head factory farm about 2 miles North of Williams.  This factory farm alone will add 1,642,172 gallons of manure into our watershed.

Hamilton County already has 212 medium or large factory farms.

Enough is enough. 

Agribusiness corporations like Summit Farms get the profits—we get the pollution.

Factory farms lower our property values, kick independent family farmers out of business, pollute our water and air, and tear our communities apart.

Our air, water, and communities are more important than Bruce Rastetter’s profits.

Take Action Now!!!!

  1. Send an email to the Hamilton County Supervisors asking them to take points off the Master Matrix.
  2. Join us on Tuesday, March 6 @ 6:00 pm at the Williams Fire Station on Locust Street for a community planning meeting.

When we stand together, organize, and fight back against greedy proposal like these, we win.


Click the link below to read CCI’s full objections to the Rastetter – Williams 15 factory farm application.

Rastetter Objection+cover letter+enclosures





Last month, we heard from our friends at the Oakland Institute that the government of Tanzania announced that it finally intends to deliver on its 2008 promise of citizenship to tens of thousands of Burundian refugees!

Many of these people would have been displaced by Bruce Rastetter’s love of big money.

Rastetter is no stranger to Iowa CCI. We started fighting his Heartland Pork factory farms in the late 90’s. He has continued to make his big money mark, starting and selling ethanol plants under his Hawkeye Renewables, and with his Agrisol effort to displace thousands of refugees and local farmers for profits from corporate agriculture.

For years, Bruce Rastetter tried to use his influence as an Iowa Regent to get ISU’s backing and involvement in a Tanzanian land grab. The proposal to lease tens of thousands of acres for $.25 acre for 99 years would have displaced tens of thousands of refugees and local farmers in Tanzania. Why? Rastetter’s Agrisol company wanted bring monoculture farming, ethanol, and factory farms to another part of the globe.

He tried to acquire ISU’s backing, but they cut all ties, as did the USDA. You helped expose his conflict of interest as a regent and collected thousands of signatures demanding his resignation. While he was not forced to resign, his unethical behavior and big money interests were brought to the attention of the greater public. The land grab was ultimately stopped!


Check out the timeline of events below:

2007: Rastetter donates $1.7 million to ISU

2008: Rastetter begins talks with Tanzanian government

2009: Collaboration between ISU and AgriSol begins

2010: Rastetter is the single biggest donor to the Branstad campaign, giving more than $164,000.


February 25: Branstad appoints Rastetter to Board of Regents

May 1: Rastetter’s term begins: he should have recused himself from discussions of an ISU partnership with AgriSol at this point.

May 18: Rastetter finances a $13,000 trip for ISU officials to Tanzania

June 14: Des Moines Register publishes AgriSol expose

June 17: Rastetter discloses his financial interest in AgriSol to the public

July: Rastetter elected President Pro Tem of Board of Regents

September 13: Rastetter finally recuses himself from discussions of partnering with ISU — four months after he becomes a Regent.

September 26: Dan Rather reports on AgriSol


February: ISU cuts all ties to Tanzania project

April 24: Rastetter files a false financial disclosure report with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board

June 19: Iowa CCI members file a conflict of interest complaint against Rastetter with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board.

Read more here.


Join the fight



The Iowa Regents Transparency Taskforce has set their first public hearing for 6pm Wednesday, April 17 in Johnston, Clear Lake, Webster City, Algona, Marshalltown, Newton, Knoxville, and Osceola, and Iowa CCI members will be there in force to demand an end to corporate corruption at the Board of Regents and more accountability and transparency in decision-making.

Iowa Regent leaders Craig Lang and Bruce Rastetter have faced enormous public criticism in recent months because of a series of controversial decisions that have put the interests of big-moneyed corporate agribusiness groups ahead of the interests of everyday Iowans.  As a result, the Iowa Senate refused to confirm Lang for a second 6-year appointment to the board, and he will no longer serve as of April 30.  The Iowa Senate has also passed the Regents Accountability and Transparency Act by a 49-1 margin.

Iowa CCI members and our allies have led this grassroots good government campaign since the beginning, and now is the time to continue to push our “put people first” priorities.  Here are some talking points and more information and the location of each meeting this week.

  • Say your name, where you’re from, and that you’re a proud member of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.
  • Governor Branstad, Regent President Craig Lang, and Regent Pro-Tem Bruce Rastetter have twisted the role of Iowa’s public universities to serve corporate greed rather than the common good.
  • Rastetter tried to use Iowa State University to back a corporate landgrab in Tanzania by his own company, AgriSol, and that he falsified a financial disclosure statement to do it.
  • The Board of Regents refused to enforce their own ethics policy and kicked citizens out of their meeting rather than allow time for public comment.
  • The Regents hired Rastetter’s personal public relations director to be the new ISU lobbyist without conducting a public job search or following their own diversity-in-hiring guidelines.  This kind of revolving-door action should not be allowed.
  • Lang and Rastetter closed down Price Labs at the University of Northern Iowa without allowing the time and space for a full public debate on the proposal first.
  • Lang and Rastetter infringed on academic freedom by preventing the Tom Harkin Institute of Public Policy from conducting free and open agriculture research.  This was done to protect powerful corporate ag interests and resulted in Harkin pulling nearly 40 years of congressional papers from ISU, which is truly a terrible loss for Iowa.
  • Rastetter worked with a corporate ag lobbyist to try and silence a University of Iowa professor from speaking out against industry practices that threaten Iowa’s water quality.
  • These kinds of actions by public officials is not acceptable.  We will not sit idly by while corporations take over what few public institutions remain accessible to everyday people in this state.
  • There we need to 1) remove Rastetter from the board 2) develop a clear ethics complaint process to enforce the Regents ethics policy and put it in writing 3) mandate public comment at all Regents meetings 4) require additional public hearings four times a year in all four congressional districts 5) end the revolving door between public institutions and private corporations.
If you can attend one of these hearings, please call CCI farming and the environment organizer David Goodner at 515.282.0484 or email

Here is the full location information for each hearing this week.

Transparency Task Force origination site:

Johnston High School, Room 226, 6501 NW 62nd Avenue, Johnston, Iowa

Other available ICN sites:

  • Clear Lake High School, ICN Classroom, 125 N. 20th Street, Clear Lake, Iowa
  • Webster City High School, Room 19, 1001 Lynx Avenue, Webster City, Iowa
  • Algona Bishop Garrigan High School, ICN Classroom, 1224 N. McCoy Street, Algona, Iowa
  • Marshalltown High School, Room 173, 1602 S. 2nd Avenue, Marshalltown, Iowa
  • Newton Senior High School, Room 104, 800 E. 4th Street S, Newton, Iowa
  • Knoxville High School, ICN Classroom, 1811 W. Madison, Knoxville, Iowa
  • Osceola-Clarke Community High School, ICN Classroom, 800 N. Jackson, Osceola, Iowa

Newly Released USDA Documents Reveal Agrisol Tried to Use ISU to Get $7 Million Grant


Just days after the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board refused to investigate Iowa Regent Bruce Rastetter for conflict of interest violations, newly released documents reveal that he attempted to use a partnership with Iowa State University (ISU) to get U.S. government funding to establish his controversial agribusiness project in Tanzania.

Working with ISU faculty, Rastetter’s company AgriSol applied in 2011 for more than $7 million in taxpayer dollars as part of a program run by the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“The Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board may not get it, but it’s clear that Rastetter has tried to pull every string he can to get his corporate land grab off the ground,” says Lori Nelson, a CCI Board Member from Bayard, Iowa.  “It’s outrageous that he tried using the good name of ISU to get U.S. taxpayers and poor Tanzanians to pay his start-up costs.”

The $7 million AgriSol sought from the USDA program would be delivered as supplies of food aid, which AgriSol or its affiliate would sell in Tanzania. The AgriSol application explains that the proceeds from the food sales would help with infrastructure and start up costs for an industrial agribusiness project in Tanzania, which could displace thousands of refugees.

Emails obtained by Food & Water Watch through the Freedom of Information Act show that some inside USDA were concerned about the application: “In fact it reads very much like an investment prospectus, as you can imagine,” said one email by an official of USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Service.

The USDA ultimately denied Agrisol’s application for funding in fiscal year 2012.

Presenting the project as a humanitarian effort to develop agriculture in Tanzania, AgriSol promotes the involvement of ISU in the application and involved ISU agronomy Professor Mark Westgate—even though ISU officially backed out of the USDA application process in mid-September 2011, citing potential conflict of interest concerns with Rastetter. Professor Westgate personally met with the USDA on AgriSol’s behalf then helped submit the USDA application, using his official ISU email address.

“It’s bad enough that an Iowa Regent keeps trying to drag ISU into his business enterprises,” Nelson said. “But now even though Rastetter describes himself as a self-reliant farmer, these documents show that he wanted U.S. taxpayers and poor Tanzanians to foot the bill for setting up his profit-making enterprise.”

“This latest revelation is just one more reason it’s time for Rastetter to be held accountable,” said Matt Ohloff, Iowa organizer for Food & Water Watch.  “CCI and Food & Water Watch members will continue to call for Rastetter to resign from the Board of Regents.”

Copies of select documents obtained from the USDA can be found here:

Join the fight

 Click LIKE and TWEET if you agree it’s time for Rastetter to resign

CCI members will continue campaign to force Rastetter off the Board of Regents

Over 60 Iowa CCI members who attended today’s Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board slammed their decision today to dismiss our conflict of interest complaint against Iowa Regent Bruce Rastetter.

Here’s the statement a member, nurse and family farmer Barb Kalbach read to the press immediately after the decision:

“The Iowa ethics board made the wrong decision today, a decision that puts them squarely on the side of bad government of, by, and for the corporations.


But the truth is, we win no matter what you did with our complaint today. Because the power of ordinary people to shed light on the inner workings of a government captured by corporate power has been proven.


Rastetter’s disclosure, recusal, and amended financial form were concessions we extracted from him because of public pressure. We were doing our job while the ethics board was asleep at the wheel. And if any changes are made in the future, it will be because of people like us.


Iowa CCI members will continue to fulfill our role as a government watchdog and hold people like Bruce Rastetter – who believe they are above justice – accountable to everyday people. We will not stop, give up, or quit. We will continue to make our case in the public arena that Rastetter is not fit to serve on the Board of Regents and will now pursue this end by other means.”

>> Here are the five points CCI member Ross Grooters presented in our allotted 10 minutes: The 5 items the Ethics Board must consider (and 25 precedent setting questions they must answer)

The board chose to take a narrow definition of state code and cited that Rastetter has never taken a public vote as a Regent on the Tanzania/Iowa State University project as justification for dismissal. But, ultimately, we don’t believe one has to take “a vote” to use their appointed position for their personal financial interests.

And, on the issue of Rastetter’s amended financial disclosure form, the board dismissed it saying that leaving it wildly incomplete does not make it false or fradulent. But, as member and farmer George Naylor quipped, “Rastetter listing his sole employment as ‘self-employed farmer, is like Al Capone listing his profession as ‘home-brewer’.”

But despite this news, the 60+ members in attendance today agreed that we are winning the battle of public opinion and that we must keep pushing on this issue.

This campaign has engaged over 1,000 Iowans through a petition effort, meetings around the state with Food & Water Watch, dozens of letters to the editors, a meeting with the Oakland Institute and a visit to the Iowa Regents August meeting.

The majority of Iowans have close ties with our public universities. Iowans have want public universities and public officials that work for the common good, not to line their own pocket. And, we shouldn’t have to wonder if that is happening.








Matt Ohloff from Food & Water Watch shares why they signed on to the ethics complaint. "We can no longer leave it up to press to expose Rastetter we need a full investigation"











Ross presenting our case before the board.









60+ members packed the Iowa Ethics boardroom.









Listening to the Board say why they are dismissing the complaint.

Press statement immediately after.



See more photos here.

updated 5:50

Learn more

  • Click here to read more about our #FireRastetter campaign
  • Add your name to over a thousand other Iowans calling on Branstad to #FireRastetter:

Join the fight

 Click LIKE and TWEET if you agree with Barb’s statement.

On Tuesday, over sixty CCI members gathered at the CCI headquarters to meet Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute, as she shared her knowledge of Bruce Rastetter’s land grab in Tanzania.

What we learned blew us away!

In 2011, Anuradha was invited to Iowa by AgriSol executives as they tried to secure her approval that their Tanzanian land deal was not a land grab. They offered her unprecedented access to internal AgriSol documents, sat her down with ISU officials involved with the project, and wined and dined her at the AgriSol offices in Alden. Anuradha even had a one-on-one conversation with Bruce Rastetter himself.

What Anuradha learned during all of this shocked her.

The deal AgriSol officials were describing to her was not just a land grab – it was one of the worst she had ever seen. She describes it as a time when she knew she could not just stand by as injustice was done. The Oakland Institute immediately began conducting research on the ground in Tanzania and brought the facts of the AgriSol land grab to light.

Here are the ten most shocking facts Anuradha revealed to the packed room on Tuesday:


1.  Time is of the essence.
The lives of 160,000 self-sustaining farmers are on hold as they wait to see if their community will be torn apart. The only reason that AgriSol hasn’t proceeded with the project is because of public scrutiny.

2. There was never a distinction between the private AgriSol project and Iowa’s government and public universities. 
From the beginning, Iowa State faculty and administrators were promoting the project to potential investors as a favor to Rastetter. Anuradha was even promised a dinner with Governor Branstad, to show how much support the project already had from Iowan officials.

3. AgriSol was very careful to secure formal confirmation of everything the Tanzanian government would provide, but never committed to giving anything back.
Rastetter has insisted that his project will help the Tanzanian people, but he himself told Anuradha, “Actually, we have not determined what jobs will be created.

4. The US media is censoring themselves on this issue.
The international media picked up this huge story, but US media was afraid to challenge people with so much power. But as Anuradha points out: “You don’t have to believe me. It’s them versus their own damn documents. They think you’re lazy. They think you’re stupid. They think you cannot read. Go online and educate yourself.” (Find the Oakland Institute’s documents here.)

5. Rastetter knew all along that their plans would displace 160,000 people, despite repeated insistence that the refugee camps in the affected area were abandoned.
Kevin Kimle, who holds ISU’s Bruce Rastetter Chair of Agricultural Entrepreneurship, said it would be problem to do outreach to Tanzanians because they would all be shipped away.

6. Rastetter lied about wanting to feed Tanzania.
AgriSol received an agreement that they could export all of the crops they grow – even if Tanzania was experiencing a food shortage.

7. This project would only benefit Rastetter and other wealthy investors, at the expense of Iowans and Tanzanians.
The materials provided to potential investors emphasized the massive profits that would be made, then eased their consciences by making vague, non-committal promises to conduct outreach and provide food security.

8. The 160,000 people who are most affected by this deal were deliberately excluded from the decision-making process.
An AgriSol spokesman was caught on camera as saying that the only appropriate time to tell the residents of the land was after the deal was completed.

9. AgriSol is unrepentant.
AgriSol officials say that we don’t need to worry about the refugees because the project is on hold. What they should say is, “We made a mistake, we are sorry, and we will back out.”

10. The world is watching what happens at the Ethics Board hearing.
As Anuradha Mittal said, “Thursday will be a day of reckoning.”

Our meeting was Anuradha was incredible. As several members who attended said, “Everyone in Iowa needs to hear what we learned tonight.”
We need you to help us spread the truth about Rastetter. We also need as many people as possible to attend the Iowa Ethics Board hearing on our ethics complaint against Rastetter on Thursday, August 23rd.
At our meeting, Anuradha told us, “There are people in Tanzania who are wondering if democracy works.” Let’s show them that democracy does work by getting the Ethics Board to vote the right way on Thursday.


Learn more


Join the fight


Click LIKE and TWEET if you think that everybody needs to hear what we learned from Anuradha last night: