Factory Farm Moratorium Stalls In Iowa

Manure application is under scrutiny in Iowa ( FJ )

Iowa’s General Assembly failed to take action on a request by activist groups for a legislative moratorium on new and expanded “factory farms” in the Hawkeye state. Last Friday (Feb. 21) was the deadline to move policy bills out of committee, and while the moratorium on factory farms saw no action, the initiative seems only stalled until futures sessions.

Prior to last week’s deadline, activist groups sent a letter to Iowa General Assembly members claiming water pollution levels have reached “crisis levels,” and the rise of factory farms has resulted in a “steep decline in Iowa’s independent family farms.”

One hundred organizations – including Food & Water Watch, Socially Responsible Agriculture Project, Sierra Club chapters and several union locals – signed on to the letter which notes several of the state’s counties have passed resolutions in favor of stronger local control or a legislative moratorium.

“No longer a valuable fertilizer, [Iowa hog farms’] manure is applied to fields at rates that far exceed crops’ ability to absorb them, and the excess runs off into already polluted rivers and streams,” the letter states. “Iowans are burdened by the impacts and the pollution this industry generates while the pork — and the corporate profits — leave our state.”

Bills to enact a moratorium were introduced in both the Iowa House and the Senate this year, and a poll by John Hopkins found 63% of Iowa residents support such a factory farm moratorium.

“While the General Assembly may have failed to deliver the goods this year, there is no doubt that the bills moved further than ever expected,” Emma Schmit, Food & Water Action said in a statement. “As awareness builds and the impacts of factory farming become more widespread, support will only continue to grow. Right now, our legislators are simply procrastinating on the inevitable: Iowa will stop factory farming or we will pay for it with our water, communities, and future.”

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