Advocates for family farms, rural neighborhoods and the environment are asking Iowa lawmakers to find a more equitable balance between the interests of factory farms and of the communities they’re in.
Research has shown higher levels of nitrates and phosphorus in the water, as well as air quality issues, in communities with nearby concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
Aaron Lehman, president of the Iowa Farmers Union, said the current standards for factory farms, from manure storage to air-quality standards, aren’t strong enough to protect their neighbors or natural resources.
The Iowa Farmers Union has joined the call for a moratorium on new CAFOs and expanding existing ones.
Opponents of the bill, House Fire 440, point out Iowa is the nation’s top pork-producing state, and contended a moratorium on factory farms would harm the state’s ag industry.
Drew Mogler, public policy director for the Iowa Pork Producers Association, said the state’s economy depends on livestock and other agricultural production, particularly in rural communities. He noted livestock processing has created many jobs as well.
Lehman pointed out despite the fact a moratorium likely won’t be in the cards for this legislative session, their work must persist.
He added the goal is simply to protect neighboring communities’ water, air and property values