Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 24, 2018

CAFOs bad for environment, development

By John Ikerd | Jul 06, 2017

To the editor:

During their June 26 meeting, Jefferson County supervisors denied a citizens’ request to put the discussion of a statewide moratorium on new or expanded Confined Animal Feeding Operations on their agenda for a future meeting.

The request was simply to present a petition, signed by 1,200-plus of their constituents, requesting their endorsement of a moratorium.

Supervisor Dick Reed is quoted in The Fairfield Ledger saying supervisors don’t have the power to do anything about CAFOs, and those who oppose them should take it to the “State House.”

The citizens calling for a “statewide” moratorium are doing precisely what Reed was suggesting. Essentially, Reed was saying he is not even willing to discuss the possibility of representing his constituents on this matter. His refusal speaks volumes about who he actually represents.

Supervisor Lee Dimmitt went even further in his reference to the proliferation of CAFOs, “It’s a matter of economics and the state is not going to mess with it.” He suggested a moratorium would not make sense because of recent job losses in the county.

He seems oblivious to the cold reality that CAFOs don’t create jobs; they destroy jobs. One “medium” CAFO, with 2,499-head of hog, destroys opportunities of five farmers with 500-head hog operations.

A 500-head CAFO can’t support a family, but 500 hogs can certainly help a family make a decent living on a diversified, socially responsible farm.

Anyone doubting the negative economic impacts of CAFOs need only see the economic devastation of rural economies brought by industrial agriculture over the past half-century.

CAFOs are the epitome of everything that’s wrong with industrial agriculture.

Regarding the call for a CAFO moratorium, Dimmit said: “It’s making noise for the sake of making noise ... it would create a greater amount of animosity than already exists, and it has no practical purpose.” He obviously fails to understand that CAFOs are the source of the noise and animosity, not the concerned citizens.

Town and country residents alike have legitimate reasons to be concerned about the threats CAFOs pose to their health and well-being.

There is no greater responsibility of public officials than protection of public health and safety. Refusing to face reality will not protect the citizens of Jefferson County from the consequence of CAFOs.

There’s no future for rural Iowa if we allow it to be plundered and polluted by industrial agriculture.

No one will choose to live or work in a county where the air and water are polluted by noxious agricultural chemical and biological wastes.

Contrary to the corporate agriculture propaganda, there are economically viable alternatives to industrial agriculture.

Family farms of the future can be good places to live on and live around while producing enough safe, nutritious food for everyone.

Such farms also will employ far more thoughtful, caring farmers.

If Jefferson County is to realize this positive future, we simply cannot allow industrial agriculture to dictate the public agenda of our county supervisors.


–John Ikerd, Fairfield


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