With 628 impaired waters, now’s the time for legislature to address factory farm impacts

What’s at stake:

For years, Iowans have demanded that the legislature pass policies that protect our communities from the devastating effects of factory farms. With 628 waterways on the DNR’s polluted waters list, over 800 documented manure spills since 1995, and corporate ag running family farmers out of business – our air, water, and rural quality of life are under attack. We need strong protection for our air and water from factory farm pollution and an agricultural economy that works for everyone.


What we’re pushing for:

Local control for factory farm siting

What we are asking for is simple: counties and local people should have the final say if a factory farm can build. Local people who know their area best should have the largest voice in the process. Currently, NO counties have control over the siting of factory farms.

Common response from opponents of local control:

They say: Local control would result in 99 sets of rules for the state; now we have one set of state standards that works.

We say: Local control would not result in 99 sets of rules. It would allow counties to pass ordinances as to where factory farms should not be built. We will still have a set of state standards – but it would allow local people to have a say, which is not the case right now.


Enact tougher permitting standards and regulation


1. Double the current separation distances, from ¼ mile to ½ mile: Require factory farms to be sited sufficient distances from places communities value most, such as homes, churches, wetlands, waterways, lakes, tourism destinations and cities.

2. Cut the construction permit threshold in half: Require operations with 500 or more Animal Units (equivalent to 1,250 hogs, 500 beef cattle or 55,556 turkeys) to obtain a construction permit, pass the master matrix, and submit a manure management plan.

Right now, if a factory farm operator is denied a permit for a larger factory farm, they can turn around and build right under the permit threshold without approval from DNR. Cutting the permit threshold in half would drastically reduce the problem and allow local residents to stop them from building.


Fully funding the DNR

DNR Director Gipp and Gov. Branstad have both agreed to increase funding to the DNR, mostly in response to the report that CCI members forced the EPA to issue. We need the legislature to agree – we’re asking for a $1.3 million budget increase to hire 12 more field staff and 1 new engineer.


What we need to stop:

Governor Branstad has publicly stated he wants to “streamline” factory farm permitting and environmental regulations. We don’t need to roll back the laws we have – we need stronger laws!

We must tell our legislators we stand against any proposed legislation that will:

  • Weaken factory farm permitting laws,
  • Further de-fund the DNR, or
  • Give taxpayer money to the factory farm industry.


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