Who Declared War on ALL of Iowa? Branstad.

In response to Governor Terry Branstad’s claim that “Des Moines has declared war on rural Iowa” our members offered a history lesson for the Governor to refresh his memory, and remind him of his legacy in the war on rural Iowa.

“Governor Branstad started the war on Rural Iowa by pushing and signing House File 519 in 1995, opening the door for factory farms to run roughshod over the countryside of Iowa.” said Larry Ginter, family farmer from Rhodes, IA. “He seems to have forgotten the tens of thousands of independent family livestock farmers that he ran out of business, and how it has decimated the Iowa small town.”

House File 519 allowed corporate ownership of livestock, attempted to prevent nuisance lawsuits, and pre-empted many forms of local control for agriculture. That, paired with exemptions to the state’s “packer ban” preventing meatpacker livestock ownership, have led to 21 million hogs being raised in approximately 8,500 factory farms across the state. This compares to 15 million hogs that were raised on over 59,000 family farms in 1978 before Branstad took office.

“Branstad made his attacks on common sense public oversight known again in 2010, and he has tried to gut farming and environmental regulations ever since coming back into office.” said Barb Kalbach, CCI Action board president and a 4th generation family farmer and nurse from Dexter Iowa. “That has led to least 728 documented manure spills in the last 10 years and over 630 polluted waterways.”

“I have fought and won battles against corporate factory farms who tried to come into my community. However, Branstad has tipped the playing field in favor of factory farms who end up ruining our air, our water, and our rural quality of life.” added Kalbach. “We’ll continue to fight for Clean Air, Clean Water, Independent sustainable family farm agriculture, and our rural quality of life. We’re not giving up.”

Branstad made his claim to the Des Moines Register editorial Board following his condition of the state address, when questioned about a pending lawsuit filed by Des Moines Water Works in response to unsafe levels of Nitrates in the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers.

“Branstad is trying to divide the states rural and urban communities, trying to pit us against each other. That tactic isn’t going to work, we’re all in this together and we all want clean water.” added Ginter.

Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement members spoke with and identified nearly 10,000 Iowans from communities across the state in 2014 who identified Iowa’s clean water crisis as an issue that they were deeply concerned about, and took a pledge demanding action from Iowa’s DNR and elected officials to enforce the Clean Water Act. Iowa CCI’s tagline for the campaign was “They Dump It, You Drink It, we won’t stop til they clean it up!”

Iowa’s more than 20 million hogs confined in thousands of factory farms produce nearly ten billion gallons of toxic manure every year.  There have been more than 728 documented manure spills in the last ten years and Iowa currently has more than 630 polluted waterways.



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