Kim Nelson and her husband have lived in Calhoun County, Iowa for decades. It’s where they worked and raised their children. They were nearing what they had hoped would be a peaceful retirement. They wanted to sit outside in the summer and enjoy all the benefits of living in a quiet, rural community. They had hoped to frequently babysit their grandchildren in their home.
The real price of living next to massive amounts of hog manure
That was until Iowa Select decided to build a 7,500 head factory hog farm right next door on Upland Avenue. It will be spreading manure less than 30 feet from the Nelson’s home and less than 20 feet from their well. Take a moment to imagine that — manure from a 5,000 head hog farm will be spread less than 30 feet from their front door and 20 feet from their only source of drinking water.
At the same time the Iowa Select facility was being proposed, the Nelsons’ daughter and her husband welcomed a beautiful little girl into their family. The baby was born prematurely, but she’s a fighter, and is now at home with her mom and dad. Unfortunately, the baby girl will never be able to visit Grandma and Grandpa at their home in Calhoun County — not with her respiratory issues that are a result of her premature birth — because the hog farm next door is spreading manure and polluting their air with hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and particulate matter.
Local leaders are being shut out of the permitting process
The fight against the Iowa Select facility next to the Nelsons failed because local communities in Iowa have very little input into the permitting of factory farms. County leaders should be the last line of defense against these toxic and polluting facilities, but instead their hands are tied. This lack of meaningful local control has led nearly a quarter of Iowa counties to pass resolutions demanding local control or a moratorium on new factory farms.
The Iowa Select factory farm has destroyed Kim and her husband’s peaceful life in Calhoun County. And they’re not the only Iowans suffering. Iowa’s factory farms have turned rural parts of the state into a sacrifice zone. Iowa is truly in the midst of a factory farm crisis — over 10,000 factory farms are destroying Iowa’s rural communities, independent farms, and drinking water. With manure odors covering Des Moines and nitrate levels exceeding federal limits in 11 of Iowa’s public water supplies, it is time for Iowa’s elected officials to take bold action for a moratorium on factory farms.
This is how we can stop new factory farms
During the upcoming legislative session, a bill calling for a moratorium on factory farms will be introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The bill will place an indefinite halt on the construction of new and expanded factory farms until the impacts of these industrial facilities have been assessed.
If you’re from Iowa, we need your help. Your elected officials need to hear from you on this issue. We’re building the list of the bill’s co-sponsors in the House of Representatives. Ask your representative to co-sponsor this critical piece of legislation to enact a moratorium on factory farms in Iowa.
Passing this bill during this session will be an uphill fight, and we know that. But a moratorium on factory farms is the only real solution to the crisis facing the Nelsons and countless other families, our rural communities, family farms, and our water. This crisis worsens with every passing year. It’s time for our elected officials to take bold action to protect us. Families like the Nelsons can’t wait.