UPDATE – The Iowa Senate passed SF 2370. It is now before the Iowa House. Please call your legislators and ask them to remove the language on Executive Order Number 10 from this bill!

A bill before the Iowa Senate would permanently prevent the DNR from strengthening factory farm rules and regulations.

A section of Senate File 2370 would codify Executive Order Number 10 (EO10), Governor Reynolds’ directive to reduce the overall regulatory burden of Iowa’s rules and regulations across all state agencies.

If passed, SF 2370 would have a direct influence on how factory farms are regulated by permanently:

  • Prohibiting the DNR from strengthening current CAFO rules and regulations in Chapter 65 of the Iowa code.
  • Requiring a rigorous retrospective analysis for proposed rules to determine if the costs imposed by the rules justify their benefits. This serves the CAFO industry, not Iowans.
  • Removing restrictive language and determining less restrictive alternatives to a proposed rule.
  • Requiring the DNR to go through a new rulemaking process from scratch every five years, further weakening CAFO regulations.
  • Enabling the DNR to forgo public comments for a rule or retrospective analysis if it finds good cause that the input would be “unnecessary, impracticable or contrary to the public interest.”

We already see how EO10 directly impacted the recent Chapter 65 revision, which included a few new protections for CAFOs built in risky karst terrain. The governor’s office refused to approve the much needed improvements because they don’t  comply with EO10. As a result, rural residents with private wells remain at risk for high nitrate consumption, which studies link to several cancers and birth defects.  

Iowa needs stronger factory farm regulations, not weaker ones. SF 2370 benefits no one but the factory farm industry.

Contact your legislators today and tell them to VOTE NO ON THE SECTION ON EO 10 from SF 2370. . Click here for a sample letter. Find your legislator here

The health and well-being of Iowans should come before the financial interests of the multinational, multibillion dollar livestock industry! 

 

The 2024 Iowa Legislative Session is moving along and bills that made it through the first funnel are now being debated more widely across both chambers. Our legislators need to hear from us to know why we will hold them accountable to stop bills that hurt the people and places we love!

Senate File 2371 (proposed by Senator Annette Sweeney, District 27, Hardin County) would allow manure from an open feedlot or animal truck wash facility to be applied to fields in an emergency situation before the Iowa DNR has approved or denied a submitted nutrient management plan. In current code, these facilities are required to have a nutrient management plan fully reviewed and approved by DNR before spreading any manure from their structures.

Talking points in opposition of SF 2371:

  • Changing the rules to allow manure to be spread before a nutrient management plan is approved threatens the integrity of the entire process of having a nutrient management plan in the first place.
  • An open feedlot shouldn’t be collecting manure before they have an approved nutrient management plan thus avoiding “emergency situations.”
  • Changing the rules opens the door for further deregulation of our livestock farming as it relates to water quality. Without having the necessary approval by the DNR in these cases, this risks over-application of manure that seeps into our groundwater and runs off into our waterways – furthering our water quality crisis.
  • This bill is written for a very rare case where a farmer has started collecting manure before they have a plan approved – we should not be changing our code for rare cases because that will cause cases of mismanagement where this loophole is needed to become more commonplace.

In fact, this bill was introduced into the Senate Agriculture committee, headed by Sen. Mike Sexton whose wife, Becky Sexton, owns Twin Lakes Environmental Services, the company that developed the Supreme Beef nutrient management plan.

The Supreme Beef plan was challenged in court as insufficient, and a judge issued an injunction against manure application until the plan was approved by the DNR. Special interests shouldn’t call the shots in making laws affecting the entire state.

Have your voices heard, Iowans – at a time when our water quality is already declining, we must not make it easier for our waterways to be polluted by providing loopholes like this to the industrial livestock industry.

Find your legislator here and write them an email using our talking points to let them know why you oppose this language.

The 2023 Factory Farm Moratorium Bill (HF 164) has been introduced and assigned to the House Agriculture Committee, but we need your help to make sure it gets a hearing and vote!

Representative Mike Sexton of Calhoun County is the new Chair of the House Agriculture Committee this year, and it’s his job to assign the HF 164 to a subcommittee for a vote. But HF 164 has been in the Ag Committee for more than two weeks, and he hasn’t done it yet.

So we’re asking factory farm fighters across Iowa to give him a call and ask him to do the right thing and assign HF 164 to a subcommittee.

You can reach Representative Sexton at 1-877-796-1948. When you call the number, you will hear a brief voice recording, and then be transferred to Representative Sexton’s phone.

The deadline to move bills out of Committee is Friday, March 3, so the time to call is now!

Thank you for taking action to support a moratorium on new and expanding factory farms.

RIGHT TO HARM screenings are now being scheduled in Iowa. Find out where you can view the film – or schedule one for your community. 

Right to Harm is a national exposé on the public health, environmental, and lifestyle impacts of factory farms. Award-winning filmmakers Matt Wechsler and Annie Speicher (SUSTAINABLE) document the ongoing battle with factory farms in Iowa as well as in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Arizona, and Delmarva.       

Find out where Right to Harm is screening in Iowa. Here’s the schedule.

Schedule a screening for your community here.

Each of Iowa’s 13,000 factory farms are built in communities of neighbors who have few protections and little ability to have a meaningful say a confinement’s location. Right to Harm addresses the devastating ramifications that many families in Iowa and across the US experience from these inadequately regulated livestock factories.

Wechsler and Speicher address the “human welfare” impacts of factory farms, revealing the social injustice of this industrial system that is largely unknown to a broad swath of US consumers.

The film also exposes the failures of state agencies to adequately regulate industrial agriculture and chronicles actions taken by disenfranchised citizens demanding justice from their legislators.

Iowa’s Fight Featured in Right to Harm: The Iowa segment examines the plight of an Iowa County resident who was confronted with two 1200-head CAFOs built across from his family’s 145-year old farm shortly after he retired there. It also features the efforts of many Iowans coming together to protect their communities.

Watch the Trailer:

New Film Documents Iowa’s Battle with Factory Farms and Toothless Legislation Wednesday, May 29 at 7:00 pm; Doors open at 6:30 pm
Iowa State Historical Building Theatre
600 E. Locust Street, Des Moines
$5 admission benefits Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture

TICKETS ON SALE HERE and at the door

Watch the trailer here.       

Panel Discussion after the film with Drs. John Ikerd and Francis Thicke, and neighbors of CAFOs Joyce Otto and Nancy Adam

Right to Harm is a national exposé on the public health, environmental, and lifestyle impacts of factory farms. Award-winning filmmakers Matt Wechsler and Annie Speicher (SUSTAINABLE) document the ongoing battle with factory farms in Iowa as well as in Wisconsin, North Carolina, Arizona, and Delmarva.       

Each of Iowa’s 13,000 factory farms are built in communities of neighbors who have few protections and little ability to have a meaningful say a confinement’s location. Right to Harm addresses the devastating ramifications that many families in Iowa and across the US experience from these inadequately regulated livestock factories.
 
Wechsler and Speicher address the “human welfare” impacts of factory farms, revealing the social injustice of this industrial system that is largely unknown to a broad swath of US consumers.
 
The film also exposes the failures of state agencies to adequately regulate industrial agriculture and chronicles actions taken by disenfranchised citizens demanding justice from their legislators.
 
Iowa’s Fight Featured in Right to Harm: The Iowa segment examines the plight of an Iowa County resident who was confronted with two 1200-head CAFOs built across from his family’s 145-year old farm shortly after he retired there. It also features the efforts of many Iowans coming together to protect their communities. 

Wechsler will moderate a panel discussion after the film with the following guest speakers:

  • Dr. John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus, University of Missouri at Columbia. Dr. Ikerd is a sought-after expert on industrial agriculture. Originally an ardent supporter of industrial agriculture, Dr. Ikerd later became an ardent critic once he saw how factory farms were damaging the health, environment, and economic vitality of rural communities. Dr. Ikerd is featured throughout Right to Harm.
  • Dr. Francis Thicke, co-owner of Radiance Dairy, an organic and regenerative Fairfield, Iowa farm. Thicke formerly served on the National Organic Standards Board and is currently a board member of Jefferson County Farmers & Neighbors, Inc.
  • Joyce Otto, President of Poweshiek CARES and a Poweshiek County resident who had to close her in-home nursing care business after a 5000-head CAFO was built nearby.
  • Nancy Adams, a Marshall County resident who was forced to change the course of her life after a 2499-head CAFO was built near her home. 

The screening is sponsored by Hourglass Films, Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture, Iowa Farmers Union, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Women International League for Peace and Freedom, and Iowa Sierra Club.
 
Purchase tickets ahead of time.
 
Tickets are $5 and can be purchased through the Iowa Farmers Union website. The screening is also a fundraiser for the Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture (IARA), a coalition of 33 community, state, and national organizations. Additional donations are warmly welcome and support IARA’s efforts in advocating for a factory farm moratorium in Iowa. 
 
Tickets will also be sold at the door.

Free parking is available at the Capitol Complex Parking garage on E. Grand Avenue, right across the street from the Iowa State Historical Building.
 
Buy your tickets here.

Watch the trailer here.

Right to Harm Poster

Listen KHOI-FM’s May 16 interview on Local Talk with Dr. John Ikerd Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri/Columbia on the issues addressed in Right to Harm. Dr. Ikerd is featured throughout the film.

 

Last week 100 Iowans from across the state gathered at the Iowa State House to lobby in support of HF 203, a factory farm moratorium.  IARA supporters along with Iowa CCI and Food & Water Watch members met with nearly 30 state legislators then concluded the day with a rousing press conference and rally.

Many thanks to everyone who were able to get through the snow-covered roads to make it to Des Moines. It was a great day and a powerful moment to see so many factory farm activists crowded together at House Chamber steps speaking with their elected officials.

We still have some follow-up work to do. 

HF 203 was introduced to the Environmental Protection Committee, chaired by Rep. Dean FisherBut Rep. Fisher is refusing to assign the moratorium bill to a subcommittee, the next step in moving legislation forward. We tried to meet with Rep. Fisher last week, but many of us were told he was out of the chamber.

It’s completely unacceptable that Rep. Fisher is single handedly holding up HF 203. Assigning it to a subcommittee would provide an opportunity for the bill to be debated and possibly scheduled for a public hearing. This is an issue of critical importance for Iowans all across the state.

Rep. Fisher needs to hear from us. Can you help? Would you take a few minutes to either call him at 888-724-8946 or email dean.fisher@legis.iowa.gov and tell him to assign HF 203 to a subcommittee?

Here are some points you can include:

  • As chair of the Environmental Protection Committee, please assign HF 203 to a subcommittee.
  • The bill has 13 official cosponsors and another seven supporting the bill. At the very least, it deserves to be discussed.
  • The bill is pro-agriculture as it would enable MORE hog farmers to get back on the land as independent hog farmers.
  • We need to take a temporary pause on building new and expanding CAFOs so we can get a handle on the ways that factory farms impact Iowans and our waterways all across the state.
  • Thank him for seriously considering your request.

Want more talking points? Find them here: Talking Points; Why Iowa Needs a Factory Farm Moratorium

After your call, please email us at info@iowaresponsibleagriculture.org and let us know how it went.

PS – If you missed the day, check out this recording with highlights of the press conference and rally.

Then check out some press coverage hereKTVOPilot Tribune, and Public News Service

Photo credit: Karla Conrad