IARA Calls for a Statewide Factory Farm Moratorium

Farm Moratorium - Happy Pigs

At any given time, the state of Iowa has over 20 million pigs (1), more than 40 million egg-laying hens and 1.9 million broker chickens (2) that are predominately confined on over 9000 factory farms. (3)

Factory farms can have a myriad of impacts on air, water, and public health documented in over 50 years of respected, peer-reviewed studies. The state is incapable of adequately regulating the factory farms we currently have. We don’t need more!

It’s time to reclaim the rich agricultural heritage of our state, and recognize that factory farms are industrial facilities, not agricultural ones. Therefore,

The Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture calls for a statewide moratorium on new or expanding factory farms until Iowa has less than 100 polluted waterways.


Why Iowa Needs a Factory Farm Moratorium NOW

With over 700 water impairments, Iowa’s water quality is unacceptable and getting worse. (4)

  • Over 60 cities and towns experienced high nitrate levels in their drinking water over the last 5 years.(5)
  • 30% of the state’s 260 municipal water systems are susceptible to harmful levels of nitrate pollution.(5)

Factory farms can create serious air quality and public health impacts:

  • Factory farms generate numerous toxic compounds that can cause asthma, nausea, vomiting, and even death. Living near CAFOs can cause significant stress. (6, 7, 8)
  • Antibiotic Resistance: Low dose antibiotic use in factory farms significantly contributes to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. (9)

The factory farm model has destroyed rural economies:

  • Over the past 50 years Iowa lost 94% of its pig farmers contributing to dwindling rural towns and shuttered school districts (2)

Factory farms do not make good neighbors:

  • Iowans who live near factory farms can experience overpowering odors, flies, and mice, as well as deteriorating roads and bridges. (10, 11)

Alternatives to CAFOs Exist:

  • Traditional, independent farming operations provide more sustainably and humanely raised meat, dairy and egg products with fewer harmful health and environmental impacts.

Stand with IARA and call for a statewide moratorium on factory farms. Find out what you can do here.

Read the press release announcing the moratorium campaign here.

Download a copy of the IARA Moratorium Fact Sheet here.



(1) Iowa Pork Facts, Iowa Pork Producers Association.

(2) USDA 2012 Agricultural Census.

(3) Iowa Department of Natural Resources AFO Database

(4) Iowa Department of Natural Resources Final EPA-approved 2014 303(d) list of impaired waters

(5) “High nitrate levels plague 60 Iowa cities, data show.” Des Moines Register. July 7, 2015.

(6) Air Pollution and Odor in Communities Near Industrial Swine Operations. Steve Wing, Rachel Avery Horton and Stephen W. Marshall, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; Kendall Thu, University of Northern Illinois; Mansoureh Tajik, University of Massachusetts, Lowell; Leah Schinasi, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and Susan S. Schiffman, Duke University, 2008.

(7) Intensive livestock operations, health, and quality of life among eastern North Carolina residents. Steve Wing and S. Wolf, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2000.

(8) Malodor as a Trigger of Stress and Negative Mood in Neighbors of Industrial Hog Operations. Rachel Avery Horton, PhD, Steve Wing, PhD, Stephen W. Marshall, PhD, and Kimberly A. Brownley, PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill School of Public Health, 2009.

(9) Antibiotic resistance 101, Food and Water Watch, 2015.

(10) Industrialized Farming and Its Relationship to Community Well-Being: An Update of a 2000 Report by Linda Labao. Office of the Attorney General, State of North Dakota, 2006.

(11) Excessive Truck Weight: An Expensive Burden We Can No Longer Afford. U.S. Government Accountability Office study.