Worth County’s Board of Supervisors passed a “Health and Family Farm Protection” ordinance this morning, becoming the first county in Iowa to use a health ordinance to regulate the livestock business. Supervisor Beverly Pangburn of Northwood says there’s no big problem in the northern Iowa county — yet. She says they don’t want a problem to come up.The Worth County Board tabled a previous health ordinance last October, and appointed an 11-member board to draft a new one. The ordinance lets county residents file a complaint asking the local board of health to conduct air emissions tests. It also requires medical tests for those who work in livestock confinements.In addition, livestock confinements have 10 years to install groundwater monitoring equipment, and any newly constructed facilities must include groundwater monitoring wells. All three members of the Worth County Board of Supervisors endorsed the ordinance this morning during its third reading, which makes it effective now, although a legal challenge may put the ordinance in limbo. Critics say it’ll cost farmers too much to comply with the ordinance. For example, groundwater monitors cost between 18-hundred and six thousand dollars and the tests for confinement workers cost about 240-dollars per year, for each worker. Iowa Farm Bureau members have voted against the idea of county regulations for livestock operations, saying state regulations are adequate. A recent court case over Humboldt County ordinances found counties had no authority to enact strict rules for farming operations.
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