Democratic congressional candidate Ed Fallon says it’s time to enact a national moratorium that would forbid corporations from building new livestock confinements. "I don’t want to get in the way of a small farmer putting up a building with 300 hogs. That’s not my issue," Fallon says. "My issue is with the consolidation in the industry that has allowed these large entities — hey, look at Iowa. Most of the large confinement operators in Iowa don’t live in Iowa. Even Iowa Select, which is again primarily operating in north central Iowa, their president lives in West Des Moines. That’s what I want to come after."
Fallon says small towns in Iowa are declining because of a decline in the number of active farmers. "A big part of that problem is hog confinements, specifically the corporate confinements that have been enabled by legislation passed back in the mid-90s and you know the Iowa legislature is failing to address that issue," Fallon says. "And at this point unless the Iowa legislature and our governor decide that they really want to tackle they problem — and they don’t seem to be willing to do that — I’m ready to begin looking at federal action."
Repeated attempts in congress to ban corporate ownership of livestock have failed and U.S. Justice Department has given all sorts of agribusiness mergers the go-ahead despite concerns about a lack of competition. Fallon says there’s no "free market" system in the livestock industry today. "I want to get back to having one, but right now the laws have been so skewed in favor of the big, corporate confinement operators that small farmers don’t have a chance," Fallon says. "…It’s the big, primarily national corporate operators that I’m coming after."
Fallon contends a nationwide moratorium on construction of large, corporate-owned livestock confinements will create a sense of urgency. "That urgency will bring everybody to the table that will be more fair, more balanced that will give local communities more opportunities to weigh in on what comes into their community, what comes into their area," Fallon says.
Fallon plans to makes stops in a dozen Iowa cities tomorrow to discuss corporate ownership of livestock. Fallon is seeking to defeat Congressman Leonard Boswell in the June primary and win the Democratic Party’s third district congressional nomination. Both Fallon and Boswell are from Des Moines.