Des Moines, IA — In a letter issued to state legislators today, 100 organizations, including Food & Water Action and Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action, urged elected officials to heed their constituents’ demands for a factory farm moratorium in Iowa. Sponsored by Rep. Staed in the House (HF 440) and Sen. Jochum in the Senate (SF 282), this year’s factory farm moratorium bills have a record number of co-sponsoring legislators, but neither have received a hearing in their respective subcommittees.
This is the fourth year in a row that legislators have introduced bills to stop new and expanding factory farms in Iowa. While the Republican-controlled General Assembly has held up these bills each year, grassroots momentum has grown. Today, letter signatories represent Iowans from every legislative district in Iowa, and more than a quarter of Iowa’s 99 counties have passed resolutions in favor of stronger local control or a legislative moratorium on factory farms.
As the legislature fails to act, the problems of factory farms grow ever greater. Letter signatories cite steadily increasing farm consolidation, worsening water pollution and lack of meaningful local control as major concerns. “Iowa’s water pollution problems have reached crisis levels,” the letter states. Agricultural pollution has damaged more than 1,000 miles of Iowa’s rivers and streams and over 59,000 acres of its lakes, ponds and wetlands. More than 200 Iowa community water systems including Des Moines with its state of the art nitrate-removal system, struggle with high nitrate levels which pose serious public health risks including certain cancers and birth defects.
“Iowans are demanding a factory farm moratorium,” said John Aspray, Iowa Organizer for Food & Water Action. “Our legislators cannot ignore our state’s factory farm crisis for much longer. The dangerous impacts of factory farms on our drinking water, independent family farms, rural economies and public health are undeniable. The time for a moratorium is now.”
“This sign on letter exemplifies the grassroots support for a moratorium on factory farms. A moratorium on factory farms is just the first step to creating a more just food and farm system, one that works for farmers, workers, eaters and the environment,” said Ava Auen-Ryan, a Farm & Environment Organizer from Iowa CCI Action.