The state ban on spreading liquid manure on frozen ground begins today and one group says they’ll be watching to see that factory farm operators comply. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement spokesperson, David Goodner, says they want factory farm operators and the Iowa D.N.R. to know they’re watching.
He says they have 3,300 members in 98 counties across the state and they will be watching to see if any manure is spread on frozen or snow covered ground, and if they see it happening, they will call I.C.C.I. and the D.N.R.. Goodner says that’s the first step in their monitoring of the situation.
Goodner says the second tier is that they have an agreement with the D.N.R. to receive an update every 14-days on those operators that have asked for an emergency exemption for spreading manure because of inadequate storage. “So between our independent monitoring and working in close collaboration with the D.N.R., we hope to provide a very comprehensive coverage across the state to make sure that, that nobody’s spreading illegally, and if they are, they are being held accountable for it,” Goodner says.
The Environmental Protection Commission approved a five-year emergency exemption ban for farm operators who say they don’t have adequate storage. Goodner says they don’t know how many farm operators might try to take advantage of the exemption.
“Technically speaking, it should be a very small minority of operators, it should be the mostly the older confinements built prior to 1986,” Goodner says, “now that’s the letter of the law, what remains to be seen is how broadly the industry tries to interpret the emergency exemption provision. And that’s why we’re really gonna very strictly monitor this situation over the next few months.”
Goodner says they don’t know at this point how the new head of the D.N.R. appointed by governor-elect Branstad will handle the situation, and that’s another reason they want to closely monitor things. He says they will also be planning to keep an eye on the legislature to prevent another attempt to repeal the ban.