A giant 5,600-head factory farm owned by Maschoff Pork – the fourth largest hog corporation in the U.S  –  is being proposed near the town of Center Point in Linn County (Spring Grove township).

This site will produce millions of gallons of toxic manure every year. Factory farms pollute our air and water, lower our property values, force family farmers out of business, damage our county roads, and threaten the local economy.

Local neighbors and area residents are organizing and mobilizing to fight back, but they need your help.

Here are two things you can do right now to help keep more corporate factory farms out of Linn County.

 

1)  Contact the Linn County Board of Supervisors by calling (319) 892-5000 or emailing bd_supervisors@linncounty.org

a. Tell them your name and where you live.

b. Tell them you demand they vote no on the proposed factory farm (because of air/water/property concerns).

c. Send a copy of your email or a summary of your phone conversation to iowacci@iowacci.org so we can track our efforts.

2) Attend the public hearing Monday, October 22 at 9am and stand up and speak out for clean air and water. Say no to factory farms!

 

Join the fight

 

Click LIKE and TWEET to share with friends and family in Linn Co.

Great letter to the editor in today’s Des Moines Register from CCI member Larry Ginter and our allies at Environment Iowa.

This landmark legislation did so much to improve our waterways. It’s time for bipartisan action to continue to prevent and protect our waters – state and nationally – from polluters.

 

 

Clean Water Act has done so much

 

Forty years ago, our nation faced extremely threatening and visible water quality issues: Many of our Great Lakes, like Lake Erie, were declared dead. Pollution contaminated their waters and algae overtook their shores. In Ohio, the thick muck of oil and industrial pollution that was the Cuyahoga River actually caught fire. Across the nation, dumping raw sewage and toxic waste into our waterways was seen as the standard practice.

Out of the 1970s water crisis emerged bipartisan support for the 1972 Clean Water Act — the landmark legislation enacted 40 years ago Thursday through a vote in Congress that overrode President Richard Nixon’s veto.

Today, as a result of the Clean Water Act, much of the discharge of pollution into our waterways is illegal. The Mississippi River doesn’t threaten to ignite; water treatment plants are the norm and we have a vision where all rivers, lakes and streams are swimmable, drinkable and navigable.

Even with these dramatic improvements, our waterways still face serious risks. The Clean Water Act doesn’t regulate the agricultural runoff prevalent from Iowa’s farm lands.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a report in July that found the Iowa Department of Natural Resources failed to issue the permits for factory farms and concentrated animal feeding operations that are required by the Clean Water Act. Nine percent of Iowa’s 1,648 concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, had the necessary permits just a year ago.

Manure and nutrients from agricultural runoff contaminate our rivers and streams with bacteria, causing them to be unfit and even dangerous. In the Gulf of Mexico, agricultural runoff has compounded into a dead zone, much like Lake Erie in the 1970s, that approached the size of Massachusetts in 2010.

Despite regulations, industrial facilities dump 6.2 million pounds of waste into Iowa’s waterways every year, and that affects 47 of our state’s waterways. The Mississippi River ranks second in the nation for toxic discharges.

But recent Supreme Court decisions pose a threat to the integrity of the Clean Water Act and Iowa’s waterways. The court has allowed loopholes that remove protections from 62 percent of Iowa’s streams, hundreds of acres of the state’s wetlands and the drinking water for 667,000 Iowans.

Once again, threats to our waterways are real and another water crisis looming.

Unlike 40 years ago, Congress is polarized to the point that neither party will take action to restore the integrity of the Clean Water Act and our waterways, despite the urgency. The Obama administration has taken the first steps to restore protections to Iowa’s waterways. But it appears that Congress is ready to shut down any Clean Water Act protections.

On the 40th anniversary of the law, let’s urge the Obama administration and our leaders in Congress and at the state level to again take a stand for water quality. The health and well being of Iowa’s environment and people remains a bipartisan issue.

— Amelia Schoeneman, Des Moines, state associate for Environment Iowa, and

— Larry Ginter, Rhodes, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement member

Join the fight

 

Click LIKE and TWEET if you want both parties to stand up for clean water.

CCI members shutdown meeting in protest

 

The Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR’s) citizen oversight board, the Environmental Protection Commission, voted today to maintain a 100 pounds per acre limit on the application of liquid manure on soybean ground, a bad environmental practice that Iowa State University studies show increases the amount of nitrates in water by 19 percent.

Nearly two dozen members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (Iowa CCI) testified for a full ban on the spreading of manure on beans and protested the EPC decision, forcing EPC chair David Petty to adjourn the meeting with only half the agenda completed.

“I’m a corn and soybean farmer and putting manure on ground going to soybeans is ridiculous,” said George Naylor, an independent family farmer and CCI member from Churdan, Iowa.  “Beans won’t use the nitrogen so it will enter the surface and ground water.  If manure was applied the year before corn, there will be plenty of phosphorus and other nutrients for a soybean crop already in the soil.  We need to ban the application of liquid manure on ground going into soybeans.”

Studies presented by Iowa State University scientists at the EPC meeting today clearly stated that the current limit of 100 pounds of liquid manure per acre of soybeans increased nitrate runoff into water by 19 percent.

Iowa has more than 572 polluted waterways, and there have been more than 800 manure spills in the last 15 years, according to DNR records.

A 2007 study by the Iowa Policy Project stated that factory farm manure “may be the largest agricultural polluter of Iowa’s streams and lakes”.

60% of Iowans say “we need stronger laws to stop factory farms from polluting our air and water,” according to an September 27-29 telephone poll of 572 active voters conducted by Public Policy Polling.

Who spoke in favor of the ban:

Dozens of Iowa CCI members, the Iowa Sierra Club, the Iowa Environmental Council, and a representative from the Des Moines Water Works, the largest municipal water treatment system in the state.

Who spoke in against the ban:

Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Pork Producers, Iowa Corngrowers Assoc.

Now it’s not a battle of farmers and against environmentalists. Several CCI farmers spoke out in favor of the common sense ban.

It was a battle of corporate ag profits against the common good.

 

 Learn more

Join the fight

 

Click LIKE and TWEET if you think the EPC made the wrong decision today.

An ad-hoc coalition of community organizations, including Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Occupy Ames, Occupy Des Moines, Food and Water Watch, and the ISU Sustainable Agriculture Student Association have organized a series of events October 13-20 as part of the “Occupy the World Food Prize” week of action.

The goals are simple:

  • to educate the public about how and why the corporate control of our food supply is bad for the environment and the public health,
  • to expose the corporate ag agenda behind the World Food Prize,
  • and, at least for Iowa CCI members, to win some concrete victories like –
    1) a total ban on the application of liquid manure on ground going into soybeans
    and
    2) progressive reforms to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR’s) factory farm enforcement program.

Each event, panel discussion, public hearing, direct action, and meeting with top decision-makers will appeal to different groups of people at different times for different reasons, but taken as a whole, the “Occupy World Food Prize” week of action will be much greater than the sum of its individual parts.

Iowa CCI members are focusing on two specific events during the larger week of action:

  • The second is a meeting between Iowa CCI members, our allies at the Environmental Integrity Project and the Iowa chapter of the Sierra Club, and Karl Brooks, the Region 7 Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), on Thursday, October 18 to discuss a new DNR work plan to bring Iowa into compliance with the federal Clean Water Act.

 

 

Dates and times for all events are below:

 

Saturday, October 13

• Nonviolent Civil Disobedience Training, 8am-noon

Iowa CCI statewide headquarters, 2001 Forest Avenue, Des Moines

Sunday, October 14

• An afternoon with the Korean Women’s Peasant Association, 2-4pm

Winner of the 2012 Food Sovereignty Prize

Featuring Beomok Bok and Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau

Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A

Monday, October 15

• An afternoon with the Korean Women’s Peasant Association, 1-2pm

First Unitarian Church, 1800 Bell, in Des Moines.

• An evening with the Korean Women’s Peasant Association, 6-7:30pm

Sun Room, Memorial Union Building, Iowa State University

Tuesday, October 16

Ban the Spreading of Liquid Manure on Soybeans, 9am-1pm

Environmental Protection Commission Meeting, 7900 Hickman Road, Windsor Heights

Meet at Iowa CCI statewide headquarters at 9am, 2001 Forest Avenue, Des Moines

Contact us if you can attend. TAKE ACTION: Tell the EPC to enact the full ban here.

• Panel Discussion:”What is corporate agriculture and why is it wrong for the planet and the human race?”

6-8pm, Des Moines Public Library, 1000 Grand Ave.

Panel Participants:  Denise O’Brien—National Family Farm Coalition; Francis Thicke—author, “A New Vision for Iowa Food and Agriculture”; CCI member George Naylor—Iowa Farm Unity Coalition, CCI member; Barbara Kalbach—4th generation family farmer, CCI member.

Wednesday, October 17

• Direct Action Civil Disobedience- World Food Prize building, 100 Locust Street

Rockefeller Foundation endowed award, 4pm

Thursday, October 18

• Iowa CCI meeting with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 7 Administrator Karl Brooks

7-9pm, State Historical Building, 600 East Locust Street

Contact us if you can attend. TAKE ACTION: Tell the EPA to push the DNR to crack down on factory farms here.

• Direct Action Civil Disobedience before the World Food Prize Award Ceremony

Iowa State Capitol, 6pm

Friday, October 19

• “The Food Sovereignty Prize – What is it? Why we need to promote it.”,

7pm, 1st Unitarian Church, 1800 Bell Ave, Des Moines

Saturday, October 20

• Occupy the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute held at DuPont/Pioneer

Headquarters, 8am-3:30pm, 7000 NW 62nd Avenue. Johnston, Iowa

 

 Learn more

Join the fight

 

Click LIKE and TWEET to invite your friends to join you for all or part of this “week of action”.