A thousand Iowa farmers marched up the steps of the state capitol today to lobby against new regulations for livestock units. The farmers ate pork sandwiches, listened to a few speakers, then walked into the statehouse to pigeonhole their legislators. Iowa Agribusiness Association president Ed Beaman says event organizers wanted to “show the face of agriculture.” Beaman says the new regulations proposed for livestock confinements are a “wake-up call” for the industry. He says, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease. We haven’t been squeaky enough.” Beam says they’ve learned the industry can be taken away if they don’t speak up.Heidi Vittetoe of Washington County raises over six thousand hogs, and employs 26 people, and she says the operation she and her husband run shouldn’t be considered a factory or a corporate farm.Vittetoe says she resents being identified as the source of everything that’s painful about the way the social fabric of Iowa has changed over the past decade. Vittetoe says her operation’s more than 700-thousand dollar payroll has a valuable economic impact in the area.Vittetoe calls the proposed regulations “arbitrary, cat and mouse rules. She asked, “Why are we being maligned. The state of Iowa falls all over itself to entice other companies to move here and do the things we’re already doing.”Senate leaders say the livestock bill still isn’t ready for debate.
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