Iowa State Lawmaker Seeking to Link Water Quality With CAFO Moratorium

Donnelle Eller reported this week at The Des Moines Register Online that, “Iowa lawmakers should halt construction on animal confinements until Iowa’s water quality is significantly improved, a coalition of about two dozen state, local and national groups said Tuesday.

“The Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture asked lawmakers to support 15 bills tightening oversight of confinements introduced by Sen. David Johnson, an independent from Ocheyeden.

Johnson seeks a moratorium on building or expanding concentrated animal feeding operations, also known as CAFOs, until Iowa’s list of impaired waterways shrinks from 750 to fewer than 100 — and until the rules that dictate where confinements can be located are strengthened.”

The Register article stated that, “Iowa’s pork industry is ‘already one of the most heavily regulated industries in the state and the call for stricter regulations is unwarranted,’ said Curtis Meier, president of the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

“‘Today’s Iowa pig barns are designed to contain all manure to protect water quality and enable manure use as a valuable fertilizer,’ said Meier, who raises pigs near Clarinda.

“‘Imposing a moratorium on the pork industry would greatly stifle rural Iowa economic activity and limit opportunities for the next generation on the farm,’ he said, adding that Iowa’s pork industry provides more than $8 billion in labor income annually.”

Ms. Eller added that, “In addition to the moratorium, Johnson seeks to give local leaders more control over confinement construction and increase distances between facilities and neighbors.

“The lawmaker also wants to create a study committee made up of state leaders, livestock association members and others to review rules that guide confinement construction.”

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