Environmentalists and livestock producers spoke to legislators Thursday about a bill that would launch state-funded research at Iowa State on mitigating odor on livestock farms. Iowa Farm Bureau lobbyist, Joe Johnson, wants to see lab work tested in the real world.
Johnson says,"To take some of the research projects that they have worked on at Iowa State. And take them out across the state of Iowa to actual livestock facilities. Get ’em out there and work with producers to identify what works in a cost-effective manner."
But Lyle Krewson with the Sierra Club said taxpayers should not be subsidizing research for livestock farmers. He said the industry should be protecting the environment on its own: "When members of my organization first heard about this proposal and at really at every meeting I’ve been at since then, they’ve been very upset with the concept," Krewson says. Other critics said a long-term study will just delay doing things already known to reduce odor, such as installing biofilters and lagoon covers.
Supporters said producers need more information on what works before they invest in solutions. Judy Hoffman with the Iowa Farmers Union, an organization of small family farmers, said a long-term study could delay action now. Hoffmann says the study is going to be carried out over a long period of time. That would mean putting off some good things , some known things that could be done now. Those include biofilters and lagoon covers.
But The Iowa Pork Producers support the bill. Their lobbyist Jerry Fitzgerald says farmers deserve to have more information before they invest in odor reduction: "The truth is they’re going to have to put up money to make this work, they’re not out clamoring to try things they don’t know if they’ll work," Fitzgerald says," they’d like them to work, they’d like to actually deal with something that works, not just what some call a political problem. Biofilters work in some, they don’t work in others."
Supporters say the research will show what works on real Iowa farms. Several environmental groups oppose the bill. One critic said Iowans should not have to pay for research for an industry that is reducing their property values.