Iowa pork producers are fighting a proposed new restriction on spreading manure. The Iowa Environmental Protection Commission wants to ban producers from applying manure to frozen ground — saying the manure runs off the frozen earth and into nearby waterways.
Iowa Pork Producers attorney, Eldon McAfee, says most farmers agree the practice should be avoided — but they also want an emergency exception. "We’ve seen weather the last two years that reminds us we need emergency or urgent escape clause if you have to apply because the weather turned bad in the fall and you couldn’t get it out before the ground froze or if you have a water line break and the pit fills and you need to get it out before the pit runs over, etcetera," McAfee says.
He says the emergency exception would still put restrictions on where the manure could be spread. McAfee says the emergency out would not allow someone to cause surface or groundwater pollution when they apply manure to frozen ground. Someone who uses the emergency exemption would have to put the manure in a place where it would not run off.
Pork producers are trying to get lawmakers to enact legislation that would pre-empt the E.P.C. rules. The Iowa Farmers Union objects to the proposal. I-F-U lobbyist Judy Hoffman says they don’t like it because the law wouldn’t require producers to consider a current weather forecast before applying the manure.
"If they know that snow is coming or there has just been snow -then particularly for liquid manure there’s more of a chance that it’s just going to go sliding off and can get into water areas," Hoffman says. Hoffman and McAffee were guests today on the Iowa Public Radio program "The Exchange."