An ag advocacy group says Iowa farmers are the target of violence. The Coalition to Support Iowa Farmers, a joint effort of livestock and commodity groups, reported this week that large livestock operations in particular have become a target of vandalism. The group’s Aaron Putze says some farmers tell him they’ve lost animals and equipment to "dangerous acts of violence."
"Incidences of violence against either their property or threats against their families," says Putze, "and the accounts have included vandalized feed equipment, the destruction of property, threats via telephone and in one case in southwest Iowa, the shooting of 12 cattle." Putze says he’s talked with law-enforcement agencies looking into the threats and incidents.
The motive is "an open-ended question at this time," Putze says, and law-enforcement officials are looking into it. He says no grain farmers have been targeted, only livestock producers with large operations. The reports so far have been solely from livestock farmers. "These farmers either have expressed an interest in adding livestock to their farm," Putze says, "or have come to the support of another farmer in their community who is lawfully and legally moving forward with adding some additional livestock to their enterprises."
He says no suspects have been identified, though investigations concluded several of the cases are suspicious. They include a fire that destroyed a controversial hog nursery building constructed near Clear Lake by farmer Dan Muff, who’s been a target of animosity since building a 24-hundred head hog farm last year a few miles from there.
A feed truck owned by a Cumberland co-op was vandalized, and operators say it happened after a representative spoke in favor of two hog facilities proposed for Cass and Adair counties. Putze says farmers should be alert for any suspicious activities in or around their farms, and report any incidents.