Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 23, 2017

Why no CAFO moratorium on supervisor agenda?

By Diane Rosenberg | Jul 20, 2017

To the editor:

The Fairfield Ledger’s July 13 article covered JFAN’s request to the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors to formally consider a moratorium resolution on new CAFOs by putting it on a board meeting agenda. Unfortunately, the article left out an important point that gives our request context.

The article quoted Supervisor Dick Reed saying that on March 27, the board decided not to move forward with the CAFO moratorium resolution.

That isn’t accurate, which I pointed out during the meeting.

Supervisor Dee Sandquist placed the moratorium resolution on the agenda of the March 27 meeting for the purpose of a “public discussion only.” A large number of people attended and spoke out in support of the county adopting a resolution. When I asked what the next steps would be, Mr. Reed said the supervisors would digest what was presented and agreed to place the resolution on a future meeting agenda.

When we later asked Supervisor Sandquist to place it back on the agenda, she requested we approach Supervisors Reed and Lee Dimmitt this time around.

However, in our numerous attempts to get the resolution addressed, we were stonewalled, forcing JFAN to present the petition and bring up the resolution during the public comment period on July 10. “And that’s why we’re here,” I reminded Mr. Reed. Mr. Reed didn’t dispute my correction, an important point that was omitted in The Ledger article.

That this request to place the moratorium resolution back on the agenda – supported by over 1,300 petition signatories and citizens who sent hundreds of postcards, wrote emails, made phone calls, and visited with supervisors – was refused is an affront to the democratic process of fair representation. Mr. Reed said he represents everyone in Jefferson County. Then why refuse?

Public discussion must not be limited to proposals the supervisors are inclined to support. The supervisors had every right to decide against a moratorium resolution after they gave it fair consideration and debate. But that never happened.

Supervisor John Beard, from Winneshiek County where a resolution was passed, recently wrote, “As I speak about our county’s resolution, I emphasize the oath of office I took as a supervisor to protect the wealth and public health of the people of our county, and that the failings of the Master Matrix do not allow me to keep that pledge.”

When it comes to CAFOs, some of our Jefferson County supervisors don’t appear to feel the same.

Farming is the lifeblood of our country, the lifeblood of many Iowans. JFAN embraces a positive future with regenerative agriculture that does, as Supervisor Beard says, protect the wealth and public health of Iowans. We embrace putting more independent livestock farmers back on the land providing nutritious food at a living wage without harming our water and air quality. We will work with any organization or individuals to help make this a reality.

 

– Diane Rosenberg, president and executive director of Jefferson County Farmers & Neighbors, Inc.

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