Hog confinement planned for county
To the editor:
I am Jordan Morris, an Iowa native (early childhood in Muscatine, then a move to Fairfield when I was 14).
I am an enterprising 21-year-old young man who wants to become a farmer. Iowa is home to 93,000 farms and 10 percent of the world’s most productive farmland. Iowa is currently in negotiations with China for hog exports. I want to be a farmer who feeds the state, the nation and the world.
I know the risk that I must take to begin as a livestock farmer. Even though my fraternal family is native to western Iowa, I have no land inheritance. I have college debt, and I will gain even more debt to begin my career as a farmer. Farming is a risky business in today’s economy but a risk that I am willing to take.
As you may know, under the direction of Tri-Oak, Inc., I am building and will be managing a hog confinement centered in Locust Grove Township, Section 13 of Jefferson County. As you may know, I am following all guidelines established by the Department of Natural Resources, and I am following all Iowa laws and Jefferson County mandates. These guidelines, laws and mandates are established for both the health and safety of the animals and the surrounding farmers.
Gone are the days of hog houses and A-frame huts; methods have been developed for the health and safety of the livestock. Iowa conservation team partners work with livestock producers to move livestock from open feed lots into buildings that prevent runoff and provide healthier living environments.
From an Iowa State Fair banner: Sam McKnight, a Farm Bureau member since 1997 and a hog producer, said, “I do whatever it takes to care for my livestock. Staying in close contact with my veterinarian and raising my pigs indoors helps me keep my pigs healthy, comfortable and safe from diseases, predators and inclement weather.”
I will do what is best for the livestock and for the land.
In accordance with the Iowa Pork Producers, I will also do my best for the animals and for the consumers. Iowa Pork Producers are committed to responsibly producing safe, wholesome pork. Iowa Pork Producers are committed to protecting the environment.
As you know, Jefferson County is an agriculturally based economy as is most of Iowa. My small-operations, environmentally controlled hog confinement will be one of hundreds of confinement buildings in Jefferson County and the surrounding counties. It will hold below the standard number of hogs. It is not near a lake or water reservoir. I will be planting a double windbreak of willows and evergreens – something not usually done. The building will have an underground treatment process for the manure with pit additives to eliminate odors inside and outside the building – something not usually done; the additive will not affect the waste itself so that it can still be used as a fertilizer for fields, a continuation of the farming cycle.
When asked to attend a meeting to discuss this hog confinement with Jefferson County Farmers and Neighbors, I was threated with a lawsuit of $200,000 along with personal harassment and false accusations. But I have continued to pursue my goal: I want to be a farmer who raises hogs. Iowa raises around 30 million hogs annually. Iowa’s swine industry creates more than 39,000 jobs and $5 billion in economic impact to Iowa. I want to help Iowa’s and Jefferson County’s economy.
The one-family farm in Iowa has changed and developed to better meet the needs and supply food to the nation and to the world. Iowa is a top producer in agriculture: corn, soybeans and oats; livestock: cattle chickens, eggs, turkeys and hogs. For the benefit of Jefferson County and for the state of Iowa, I would appreciate your admiration, not admonishment; your congratulations, not criticism. I have the morals and values of an Iowa farmer – hard work, determination and dedication.
I will continue to persevere in my choice and right to be an Iowa farmer raising hogs here in Jefferson County.
– Jordan Morris, Fairfield