CCI Action members take DeJear on factory farm tour

Leaders from CCI Action spent more than two hours speaking with DeJear and educating her on the issues brought by factory farms.

CCI Action members met with gubernatorial candidate Deidre DeJear in Poweshiek County on Saturday. Members took DeJear on a bus tour of a factory farm and shared personal stories about the impacts that CO2 pipelines and factory farms have on Iowa communities.

Members shared stories of how CAFOs have impacted their lives. Joyce Otto of Poweshiek County described a day when it was particularly difficult to endure the smell.

“I was running late and I had my children and work equipment, finally rushing out the front door,” Otto said. “It was like a wall, I didn’t want to breathe, I was holding my breathe. It was so bad that my kids were crying.”

Otto went on to describe how after awhile it felt like she and her family had lost their freedom to enjoy their own backyard. Members explained how the foul air has caused health problems in Iowans, including asthma.

Members shared personal stories of the hardships they have faced living near factory farms while on the bus.

Iowa is home to thousands of hog factories that house over 27 million hogs. Those hogs produce more than 22 billion tons of waste that goes untreated, stored in underground pits before being spread on farmland. These practices are polluting Iowa’s waterways. Members explained to DeJear that with that much waste heading into the water, it’s no wonder that Iowa has a water quality crisis.

After members shared their stories, and the facts about factory farms, they went on to describe solutions. After explaining policy solutions to DeJear, she was asked if she supported CCI Action’s solutions and would advocate for them on the campaign trail.

“You can see the damage that’s been caused across the state,” DeJear said. “What’s unreasonably happened is that we let things get out of hand. We’ve got to make up for lost time. We’ve got to protect our land, our children, and the future vitality of this state.”

She admitted that she had previously been less aware of some of these issues but was happy to listen to Iowans and absorb that information. DeJear explained that because of that, she could not just agree to the exact solutions members laid out.

“What I will say is that the number one thing that we can do is the number one solution that you have is: Put power back to the people,” DeJear said. “We need to reestablish local control throughout our communities on this issue, and on so many others as well.”

DeJear said she opposes the CO2 pipelines and using eminent domain for private gain. She said she supports many of our solutions to crack down on factory farms – including local control, tougher fines and penalties for polluters, eliminating nuisance lawsuit protection for factory farms, and tougher permitting standards – calling them “no brainers.” 

Candidates who are strong on these issues can win votes in rural Iowa. Elections matter, and we need folks in office at every level who will fight back against these big-money corporations with us.

While visiting Fremont Farms members continued sharing stories with DeJear.

All photos from Karl.a Conrad

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