WATERLOO -- Polling from Johns Hopkins University shows that 63% of Iowans support a moratorium on concentrated animal feeding operations. Despite this, Iowa House Speaker Pat Grassley described HF 440, the factory farm moratorium bill, as “dead on arrival.” Water and air pollution in Iowa has reached a dire point; last summer, the Des Moines River reached toxicity levels over 10 times the level federal recommendation for drinking water because of algal growth due to excess manure runoff. Factory farming in Iowa produces far more waste than could ever be incorporated back into our landscape. Instead, it leaks into our air and water, posing substantial risks to all Iowans, particularly those with weakened immune systems or respiratory conditions.
Given this, it deeply concerns me that the Iowa House has yet to even assign this bill to a subcommittee; an issue with such a tangible impact across the state deserves, at the very least, a modicum of legislative debate. Moratoriums on CAFOs do not represent moratoriums on farmers. In fact, from 1982 to 2007, the number of hog farms in Iowa dropped 82%. I hope that Representatives Smith, Brown-Powers, Kressig, and Williams will urge their colleagues to give HF 440 consideration.