About two hundred Iowa Farm Bureau members have converged on the statehouse today, lobbying against a bill that’d toughen state regulations for the livestock industry. Iowa Farm Bureau president Craig Lang says the Farm Bureau doesn’t want to kill the bill, but wants major changes that’d let the livestock industry and tourism co-exist. Lang says they know it’s a “pressure cooker issue” and there has to be a resolution. But he says they don’t want a resolution that drives farmers out of business. The Farm Bureau contends the new regulations, including a “tax” on every head of livestock in a large confinement facility, would drive small and medium-sized pork producers out of business. Lang also says the bill gives too much weight to social concerns and “what’s good for the neighborhood.” Lang, who is a dairy farmer from Brooklyn, says too often, personal preferences get in the way of sound judgment when it comes to where confinements should and shouldn’t be built. The Farm Bureau’s pressing legislators to base decisions solely on “science-based” environmental information. Meanwhile, Governor Tom Vilsack says the bipartisan deal that’d expand state regulations for livestock units doesn’t go far enough. The proposal would allow local officials to review where large-scale livestock facilities might be built, but give state officials the power to make the final decision. Vilsack says county and city officials’ recommendations should be given some additional weight when state Department of Natural Resources officials make their decision. Vilsack says the D-N-R can now say a facility meets the requirements and approve it without any voice from the local community. He says that gives rise to problems. Vilsack says legislators should have a little more confidence in local folks.
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