An array of farm groups and Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture say legislators will force some family farmers out of business if they push ahead with a bill that’d toughen state regulations for livestock operations. Iowa Ag Secretary Patty Judge says there are “glaring mistakes” in the proposed regulations which will “cripple rural Iowa.” Judge says she and officials from every Iowa agricultural group have been shut out of discussions, as just 12 lawmakers have been meeting in private for the past three months to draft the legislation.Judge says most objectionable is the proposed per-animal fee for farmers. as well as the new regulations which take into account the “social impact” of a proposed livestock unit. Ron Litterer of Greene sells about 47-hundred hogs a year and he says the regulations will have a “chilling effect” on the state’s livestock industry. Litterer says, “Confinement hog operations are being labeled as polluters, and they are not.” He says the public perception that he’s a polluter couldn’t be further from the truth. Litterer says he’s a steward of the land.Representatives of the Iowa Farm Bureau, a wide range of commodity groups and the Ag construction industry joined Judge in a news conference just outside her office in Des Moines. Judge says the pitting of agriculture against the environment that she sees going on is wrong.Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says doing nothing is not an option, as Iowans are growing increasingly wary of large livestock units.It’s unclear when the Senate will begin debating the bill, as the “gang of 12” that’s been working privately on it continue to tweak the proposals.
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