A group from the Clear Lake area drove to Des Moines Monday for a hearing at the Department of Natural Resources on plans for two new hog confinements in north-central Iowa.
Citizens for Community Improvement spokesman Tyler Reedy says C-C-I wanted the Environmental Protection Committee to take a look at some potential problems with two 25-hundred-head operations proposed near the community of Ventura. He says they came down to express their concerns and make sure the DNR checks over the manure-management plan, a key part of any proposal for a new livestock confinement.
Reedy charges that some of the people listed in the plan as ready to take manure from the animals and spread it on their land actually no longer own the land. He says that’s the kind of detail that can be overlooked by regulators.
“Since DNR doesn’t have enough staff to review all the manure-management plans, some of them just get rubber-stamped,” Reedy says. The advocacy group wants to make sure all the operators get checked. Andy Muff, a farmer whose family operates other animal confinements in the area, has applied for two confinements, each with 24-hundred-90 hogs that’d be owned by a company in Rochester, Minnesota.
There are some water-quality issues over runoff that would come from the big animal operations, as well as air quality concerns and quality-of-life issues that Reedy says the group has with so-called “factory farms.”
Reedy denies that CCI is against farmers or new livestock operations in general. “No, we are definitely pro family farms,” he declares, saying the group wants livestock in Iowa. “It’s factory farms, large-scale hog confinements that we feel pose possible environmental threats, damage the quality of life.” He says there a number of issues with big operations that Iowans are concerned about.
Monday’s hearing was a regular meeting of the environmental committee, not a hearing on the farm itself, and the visitors spoke during an agenda opening for public comment.