The group Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement plans to hold what it’s calling a “teach-in” this week that will cover things like how large-scale hog confinement lots have impacted Iowa’s water and public health.

Jess Mazour is the farm and environment organizer for Iowa CCI and says large livestock processing facilities are constantly trying to move into Iowa. “The industry, because of these slaughterhouses, the factory farm industry is expanding and they’re expanding whether we want them or not,” Mazour says. “It’s time for the community to come together and organize a fight back because we’re more powerful together so we have to act together, we have to lobby together and we have to fight together. We do that by bringing people together for a meeting like this.”

She suggests Iowans appeal directly to their county leaders for help in addressing hog confinements. “We need to convince our supervisors to deny applications,” Mazour says. “We need to think creatively about how we get the industry to withdraw their applications. We did a training in how to lobby and how to engage in the legislative session from home.”

In addition to talking with county leaders, she says Iowans who oppose these facilities also need to talk with their state senators and representatives. Mazour says, “We’re trying to get folks in their home towns to turn out to their legislative forums and make sure they get their legislators on the record about whether or not they support a moratorium on factory farms, 300 animal units or above.”

The Iowa CCI is sponsoring the program with the Iowa Policy Project featuring IPP founder David Osterberg on Tuesday at 6 P.M. at the Ellsworth Community College Equestrian Center in Iowa Falls.

(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)