FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, May 15, 2018
CONTACT: Jess Mazour, 515-282-0484 or jess@iowacci.org

 

One Hundred People Gather at Iowa Select Headquarters to Demand an End to Jeff Hansen’s Factory Farm Expansion
Factory farm fighters from across the state stand together calling for a moratorium

Iowa Falls, IA – This afternoon, nearly one hundred people gathered at Iowa Select’s office in Iowa Falls to demand CEO Jeff Hansen withdraw all pending factory farm applications and immediately stop building factory farms. With over 500 factory farms, Iowa Select is the largest pork producer in the state and has been expanding aggressively in the past year, despite mounting public calls for clean water and a moratorium.

“Iowa Select is expanding rapidly all across Iowa with no concern for our rural communities, our health, our water, or our air,” said Julie Duhn, a CCI member from Eldora. “As you can see from all the people here, this is a statewide fightback, and our only hope of stopping this out-of-control industry is if we fight back together. We can’t back down now, or big money corporations like Iowa Select will just continue exploiting us.”

“Factory farms dump pollution on our beautiful state and the industry doesn’t even pretend to care. Our legislators apparently don’t care, either. Since our politicians appear to be bought and sold by the industry, our communities have been stripped of local control with virtually no protections from factory farm pollution,” said Nick Schutt, a CCI member from Alden. “We’re left with no other choice than to take our message directly to Jeff Hansen and demand he stop this out-of-control expansion.”

In 2017, the Hansen family donated $275,000 to the gubernatorial campaign for Governor Kim Reynolds.

Community members delivered a letter to Hansen.

“Building factory farms is not Iowa nice. Polluting our precious water with millions of gallons of untreated manure is not Iowa nice. Sickening our communities with hazardous air emissions is not Iowa nice,” the letter read.

Iowa Select has been the subject of widespread scrutiny because of its massive factory farm expansion over the past year. Iowa CCI identified at least 27 factory farm applications associated with Iowa Select in the past six months, adding to more than 137,000 hogs. Iowa State University’s swine manure calculator estimates that this many finishing hogs would produce 57.5 million gallons of manure per year. These figures may be low, however, because Iowa Select uses various LLCs on their applications, making it difficult to identify all of their factory farms.

In an interview with Successful Farming last year, Hansen acknowledged that the new slaughterhouses coming online – including the Prestage slaughterhouse south of Eagle Grove – are driving his expansion.

The company also regularly builds factory farms just under the threshold that would trigger more state and local oversight. For instance, confinements with 2,500 head of hogs require the Master Matrix – but Iowa Select often avoids it by applying for confinements with 2,490 head of hogs.

“Iowa Select’s huge expansion is just one more sign that we need a factory farm moratorium now,” said Dave Haynes, a CCI member from Duncombe. “We’re at a tipping point. Enough is enough!”

“Iowa Select does not represent our vision for Iowa. We want more family farms, not fewer. We want clean water, not dirty water. We want thriving communities, not corporate-controlled communities,” said Emma Schmit, a CCI member from Rockwell City. “For that to happen, it takes all of us coming together in this battle of David vs. Goliath.”

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a statewide, grassroots people’s action group that uses community organizing to win public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics and polluters. CCI has been fighting to put people first for over 40 years. Follow us on Twitter at @iowacci.

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Press release:

DNR/EPC MISSED MAJOR ERROR IN IOWA SELECT FACTORY FARM APPLICATION

Today Iowa’s Environmental Protection Commission (EPC) took no action on a Humboldt County appeal of a factory farm permit approved by DNR in January, despite being denied at the county level.   However, county officials say they will be voting to appeal this in District Court at an upcoming meeting, if ultimately approved.

During the hearing it was brought to everyone’s attention that Iowa DNR did not do it’s due diligence after Iowa Select submitted an apparently erroneous application.  The nearest home to the proposed factory farm is also a business; which changes the points they received for separation distances from a commercial enterprise, item 3 on the Master Matrix.  This would lower the Master Matrix score from 445 to 420 – a failing grade which would automatically deny the permit to build the factory farm.

“It appears that Iowa Select is not a good neighbor because if they were they would have known about our business,” said Lynsy Harrigan, daughter of the nearest neighbors of the proposed factory farm in Humboldt County.  “It seems  like Iowa Select only cares about its profits, not about the Iowans they negatively impact.  We need local control.”

However, Iowa Select attempted to make a case that the neighbors business was not a business.  State law (567—65.1 (459,459B) Definitions) says:

“Commercial enterprise” means a building which is used as a part of a business that manufactures goods, delivers services, or sells goods or services, which is customarily and regularly used by the general public during the entire calendar year and which is connected to electric, water, and sewer systems. A commercial enterprise does not include a farm operation.

The business, located less than a quarter mile away, meets all the definitions of a commercial enterprise under state law.

To address this new finding, EPC member Bob Sinclair, made a motion to table the decision, which failed.  Then EPC member Mary Boote, motioned to approve the application, which also failed.

EPC member Howard Hill abstained from voting because of a conflict of interest having worked for Iowa Select most of his life. This conflict of interest comes in addition to the $275,000 in campaign donations to Governor Reynolds from the owners of Iowa Select.

Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement will continue to organize community members in Humboldt County as they challenge Iowa Select’s unwanted expansion.

This hearing also comes after two more counties – Fremont and Fayette – recently passed resolutions calling for more protections from the factory farm industry.

According to the USDA Ag Census, in 1978, Iowa had 57,325 farmers raising hogs on diversified livestock operations all across the state.  But in 2012, we had just 6,266 farmers raising hogs,” said Shari Hawk, CCI member from Ankeny.  “As we’ve increased the number of factory farms in our state, we’ve lost our independent family farmers who were once the backbone of our communities.  It’s time for a moratorium on factory farms.”

Iowa Select is the largest hog producer in Iowa and the fifth largest nationally. The factory farm application contested by Humboldt County is one of 20+ factory farms that Iowa Select proposed in the span of about two months. The EPC was originally scheduled to hear Hardin County’s appeal of an Iowa Select factory farm as well, but Iowa Select withdrew that application in response to mounting public pressure.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is a statewide, grassroots people’s action group that uses community organizing to win public policy that puts communities before corporations and people before profits, politics and polluters. CCI has been fighting to put people first for over 40 years. Follow us on Twitter at @iowacci.

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Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) and the Hardin County community are celebrating yet another victory against Iowa’s largest factory farm producer, Iowa Select. Just yesterday, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) revealed that Iowa Select withdrew their highly contested factory farm expansion application that would have been under the state’s minimum separation distance from a residence. This is the 3rd application Iowa Select withdrew after facing massive community opposition and county disapproval.

CCI members say this shows the tides are turning, as more and more Iowans are frustrated with the rapid expansion of this polluting industry.

“We’re just thrilled but we know it’s just one victory and there’s a long battle ahead of us if we want to build an ag system that works for farmers, workers, eaters, and the environment,” said Julie Duhn, CCI member and Eldora resident.

Momentum for a moratorium on new and expanding factory farm applications is growing across the state. The Storm Lake Times is the latest newspaper to call for a moratorium and tough oversight of the factory farm industry. Storm Lake Times follows Farm News calling for local control, the Des Moines Register calling for a moratorium, and the Fort Dodge Messenger calling for stronger permitting standards by strengthening the Master Matrix.

An addition, 1 in 5 Iowa counties have taken action to tell the legislature to either pass a moratorium, strengthen the Master Matrix, or give counties local control.

“The industry thinks they can slam as many of these factories down our throat, but they forgot the power of organized people. Good neighbors don’t pollute our water and air,” said Duhn. “Jeff Hansen doesn’t have to worry about factory farms near his house – he lives in a gated community in West Des Moines. He gets the profits and we get the pollution.”

“Iowa Select says opposition comes from people outside the county and that they are controlling the conversation against factory farm expansion.  They are wrong.  We are citizens, we are Iowans who want clean water, clean air, sense of community, and a decent quality of life.”

CCI members will continue to organize to stop two pending Iowa Select applications in Humboldt and Calhoun counties and any future applications that are submitted. 

January 4, 2017

At the tail end of 2017, CCI members in Hardin County successfully pressured their county supervisors to vote 2-1 to deny an Iowa Select hog factory expansion! This happened because the community showed up, spoke out and got organized.

Here’s what Iowa Select did next: They published full-page ads in multiple Hardin County newspapers in attempts to win over the community  even going so far as to say “Manure can actually improve our water quality.”

You know what? We call that a victory, too. We’ve forced the 5th largest hog producer in the country to go on defense. That means we’re making strides in the court of public opinion.

But, we’re not out of the woods yet: the application is headed to the Department of Natural Resources, who will make the ultimate decision on whether or not Iowa Select can expand its factory farm. This means we’ll likely need to go back to the supervisors and ask them to appeal the DNR’s approval of the factory farm.

Here are the next steps to stop this Iowa Select factory farm:

  • Attend the Supervisor hearing in Eldora (courthouse) on Wednesday, January 10 @ 10am
    • Let’s keep encouraging the supervisors to do the right thing!
  • Call the Hardin County Supervisors and ask them to appeal if DNR approves this factory farm
    • BJ Hoffman – 641-939-8220
    • Lance Granzow – 641-939-8221
    • Renee McClelland – 641-939-8222
  • Join Iowa CCI as a member to support our work to stop factory farms and fight for clean water across the state.

Join the Fight!

  • Ready to take action? Contact us to learn how to get actively involved in this fight.
  • Join as an Iowa CCI member
  • Sign up for our email Action List
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

At our staff meeting yesterday we watched the video of the time CCI members caroled the Iowa DNR office with our own version of classic holiday songs.

That prompted us to send you this — our version of a holiday letter, Clean Water, Factory Farm Fighting-style. We hope you’ll take the time to give it a read — there are some really great updates and wins from the last few weeks.

Thanks so much for all you do. We’re ready to stand with you to build the movement for clean water, a factory farm moratorium, and local control in the New Year!


Holiday card blitz! 

Rumor has it that Jeff Hansen – owner of Iowa Select, Iowa’s largest hog corporation – has even more factory farms on his Christmas list.

Here’s an easy way to stand with fellow Iowans fighting to stop 20 (!!!) proposed Iowa Select hog factories. (Like the Hardin County members who packed their supervisors meeting yesterday, successfully getting them to delay their decision two weeks.)

Send an extra holiday card to tell Jeff that all you want in the New Year is for him to stop building factory farms!

Mail to: Jeff & Debra Hansen, 1469 Glen Oaks Drive, West Des Moines, IA 50265.

Two of our Ames members made the “postcard blitz” popular during the #NoDAPL fight, and we loved the energy it brought to the movement. Check out our Facebook event. Post a picture of the card you are sending and invite your friends to do the same here.


Your online actions work!
DNR drops bad proposal to weaken testing of E.Coli in our water

Over 700 Iowans — including at least 216 CCI Action members — submitted comments opposing the Department of Natural Resources’ sneaky attempts to weaken testing for E.coli bacteria (which largely comes from factory farm manure) in our precious waterways. This change would’ve made water impairments harder to track, and put our health and safety at risk. Shout out to the Iowa Environmental Council for sounding the alarm in September.


Your call for a factory farm moratorium and local control is gaining steam!

21 Iowa counties have called for stronger rules for factory farms — whether by passing resolutions or writing letters to the state pushing for a moratorium, local control, or strengthening the Master Matrix permitting process.

  • Over 1,500 members weighed in to say you want a stronger Master Matrix. The EPC is making a recommendation to the legislature, and your energy helped force the public debate in the media.
  • Farm News — a newspaper which gets delivered to thousands of farmers and rural families in North Central Iowa — is the latest to weigh in for stronger local control. In their editorial “Hog confinements raise concerns: Webster County Supervisors raise valuable scrutiny”, they say:

“More broadly, we believe the Legislature should consider giving local governments more discretion in this process. City and county officials are in a better position than DNR bureaucrats to know how a confinement project will impact their communities.”

“…perhaps lawmakers should do what county supervisor boards, rural residents, environmental groups and others have asked. If lawmakers can’t provide more local control, then they should pass a moratorium on new confinements.” 

 


Thanks so much for standing for clean water with us this year.Together we’re working to put People & Planet before profits, politics, and polluters. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Look for CCI Action’s legislative forecast, lobby days, and our annual call for counties to pass the Master Matrix soon!

Victory!  We haven’t stopped the Iowa Select factory farm yet, but it’s safe to say that we planted enough doubt in the minds of Hardin County supervisors that they delayed their decision until Wednesday, December 27 @ 10am.  That means we have two more weeks to organize and put pressure on Iowa Select and the Supervisors to stop this factory farm expansion.

Around 30 people showed up in opposition to Iowa Select’s factor farm at Wednesday’s hearing. Their powerful testimonies covered a range of topics, including air, water and quality of life pollution, property value loss, loss of the family farmer, lost county tax revenue, destruction of historical places, and destruction of county values and vision.  You can watch the hearing here.

We were powerful, organized, and unified.  Even Senator Johnson, Independent State Senator from Osceola County, joined us at the hearing to set the record straight about what power the Supervisors have. He made it clear that the supervisors have the power to take points off the Master Matrix and recommend that DNR deny the application.

Over the past couple months, Iowa Select has submitted 20 applications in 9 counties to build or expand factory farms. These new factory farms will produce millions more gallons of manure each year.  You know that Iowa’s water is already polluted, including Pine Lake in Hardin County, and we don’t need any more manure in our state!

We’ve also heard rumors that Iowa Select has plans for 19 new factory farms in Hardin County alone in 2018. 

That’s why we have to use the next two weeks to pressure the Supervisors to take points of the Master Matrix, and we have to pressure Iowa Select to stop building factory farms in our communities.

Here are the next steps in our campaign to stop the Hardin County Iowa Select factory farm:

  • Attend the Supervisor hearing in Eldora (courthouse) on Wednesday, December 27th @ 10am
    • We need to outnumber Iowa Select!
  • Call your Supervisors and Iowa Select and tell them why they should stop the expansion
    • Iowa Select – 641-648-4479
    • BJ Hoffman – 641-939-8220
    • Lance Granzow – 641-939-8221
    • Renee McClelland – 641-939-8222
  • Join Iowa CCI as a member to support our work to stop factory farms and fight for clean water across the state.

Iowa Select may have money, but we have each other.  Wednesday’s hearing showed that when we come together and organize, we can stop big money. Please contact Iowa CCI at 515-282-0484 if you have any questions.

 

Join the Fight!

  • Ready to take action? Contact us to learn how to get actively involved in this fight.
  • Join as an Iowa CCI member
  • Sign up for our email Action List
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.