Governor Tom Vilsack has signed into law the bill that sets new state regulations for livestock confinements, and gives state officials veto power over proposed facilities. Vilsack says it’s “significant” legislation that will hopefully heal the wounds that exist in rural Iowa today. He says clearly in rural Iowa there is a division over the issue.Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows led the 12-member committee that drafted the bill in private.Iverson says it was the most difficult work he’s ever done. It was — in his words — a bit like herding 12 cats with 14 opinions. Democrat Senator Jack Kibbie of Emmetsburg says it’ll help livestock producers be better, “friendlier” neighbors. He calls it a “pimple in the road” as far as slowing down the livestock industry.Republican Representative Gene Manternach of Cascade is a farmer who helped write the bill.Manternach, who has a livestock confinement on his farm, says the bill was needed because a few “bad players” have given a black eye to a very good industry. Democrat Representative Marcella Frevert of Emmetsburg says the legislation’s the result of bipartisan cooperation.The bill gives county officials an opportunity to review how proposed confinements will affect the environment and local society. The bill also establishes new standards for the application of manure that’ll limit how much phosphorus may be applied to farm fields. Governor Vilsack signed the bill into law in his office at nine o’clock this morning.
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