The Union County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Monday to recommend that the Iowa Department of Natural Resources deny permits for two proposed 5,000 head hog farms.
CCI state policy director, Adam Mason, says the Union County vote is one step toward keeping the operations from being built. “Now that the Union County supervisors have recommended denial of this site, the D.N.R. will have 30 days to take their recommendation into consideration, review the factory farm construction permit and master matrix, and make their final decision. For us here at CCI, we’ll monitor that process, our members in Union County will monitor that process,” Mason says.
In the larger picture, Mason says they get calls daily about proposed livestock operations. He says the group has recently gotten the plans changed for facilities in Dallas, Floyd, Jefferson, and Story counties. There are ongoing fights against facilities in Poweshiek, Union, and Wright counties.
“What we look for here at CCI is a deep sense of commitment amongst the community, basically of the community coming together in opposition to this,” Mason explains. “If one person calls CCI, we don’t just automatically go out and meet with folks, there has to be a significant number of community members who want to do something about this. What we can do is go out and meet with folks and let them know what has worked in the past to stand up for family farmers and fight back against factory farms.”
The vote by the supervisors does not guarantee the D.N.R. will follow its recommendation. “County supervisors and local folks don’t really have much of a say, and that’s something the legislature did back in 2002 when they created the master matrix. That provides public input, but doesn’t give those local folks or the county supervisors final authority, which we would call local control,” Mason says.
Mason says the dramatic increase in requests to build large livestock facilities is due to higher prices for hogs and the “lax regulatory environment of the Branstad administration.”