Opponents of large factory style hog farms turned out for a protest at the state capitol today. They’re fighting a bill they say would weaken new restrictions on applying manure to farm fields. Lawmakers last year passed a bill banning the application of manure on frozen ground. Rosie Partridge from Wall Lake is a member of the activist group Citizens for Community Improvement.

Partridge said: “We are here today to ask our legislators to stand up for clean water. We are here to ask them to stop house file 23-24.” Carol farmer, Vern Tigges, had the same message. “What were are demanding today is very simple,” Tigges says, “kill house file 23-24.” The bill at the center of the protest would exempt all but the newest hog farms from building manure storage structures to house the waste until the ground thaws, and critics say that would exempt thousands of farms from the ban.

But the bill’s author says lawmakers never intended the ban to be retroactive. He says he’ll strike the controversial provision from the house bill, but hopes to later introduce a provision to give existing farms a five year grace period to comply.