The public comment period is wrapping up on proposed new rules for the regulation of livestock feeding operations with the final two hearings tonight in Calmar and Tuesday in Washington. The proposed rules would bring Iowa’s animal feeding operations into compliance with federal regulations. The Iowa Farm Bureau is in support of the permit changes, but clean water advocates say they don’t go far enough.
Four meetings were held last week, and around 60 people packed into a conference room at the Wallace State Office Building to speak out against rules. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement vice president Vern Tigges says while the number of animal confinement operations has grown in Iowa, the number of inspectors has decreased. “Right now we’re finding that self regulation, or self inspection does not work. The livestock industry has bought into the legislature, and the government of Iowa,” Tigges says.
Justine Stevenson, the director of Government Relations for the Iowa Cattleman’s Association, doesn’t agree. “Farmers today have plans in place, they have berms built, they have these manure management plans that they follow. There’s a lot of regulation that already occurs today,” Stevenson says. “In any case, there’s going to be accidents.” Both of the hearings in Calmar and Washington will start at 6 p.m.