Good legislature news! Necessary bill, SSB 1266, advances

Senate Study Bill 1266 (SSB 1266) to end the pollution control property tax exemption for factory farms passed out of the Senate Ways and Means Subcommittee! That means it is now on its way to the full Senate Ways and Means Committee.

Why is this good news? Our local county economies are struggling; ending factory farm tax loopholes like the Pollution Control Property Tax Exemption is one way to bring in more revenue.

Factory farms are getting a property tax exemption for containing their manure in a pit before they spread it on the fields.  Manure pits under the building are common practice now. It would be like us getting a property tax exemption for putting our garbage in the trash can before we put it out in the street.

Large amounts of property tax exemptions are allowed for factory farms in Iowa. Property tax policies can contribute to local revenues that have been negatively impacted by factory farms. The Pollution Control and Recycling property tax exemption removed $154.2 million dollars from county tax assessment rolls in Iowa, equivalent to approximately $5 million in unrealized tax revenue.

Most of the hog factory farms in Iowa have underground manure pits – it is the industry’s standard for manure storage for the pork industry.  Only old facilities would have a different form of manure storage. (ie. lagoon, covered earthen manure storage basins, etc.)  Manure pits should not be considered a pollution control device because it is only temporary storage until they spread it on the land. Once it’s spread on the land it can leach into tile lines, creeks, rivers, ditches, etc. That is why we have over 630 polluted waterways in Iowa.

There is little to no regulation on the application/storage of manure and of the few regulations (application rates, location of application, timing of application) the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) does not have the capacity to monitor or enforce any violations of current regulations.

Our legislature needs to pass this necessary bill, SB 1266. It’s commonsense and necessary for our rural economies and for our quality of life.

Read more on the economic impact of factory farming in rural communities:

Concentrating on Clean Water: The Challenges of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations

The Economic Cost of Food Monopolies

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