Iowa Legislator Introduces Expanded Factory Farm Moratorium Legislation

Broadened legislation includes provisions protecting contract growers from liability for pollution

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Food System

For Immediate Release

Des Moines, IA — Today, Iowa state legislator Representative Art Staed (D-Cedar Rapids) announced the introduction of new legislation to establish an immediate moratorium on the expansion of factory farming in the state. This year marks the fifth that Iowa legislators and advocates have collaborated to introduce legislation stemming the predatory growth of factory farms in Iowa. As the factory farm moratorium movement grows, this legislation continues to be a rallying cry for the 63% of Iowa voters and counting who support a legislative moratorium on factory farms.

Iowa’s rural landscapes are pockmarked with more than 10,000 factory farms, with anywhere from 300-500 new facilities added to the state each year. As factory farm numbers have increased, so too has the number of hogs confined in Iowa and the amount of waste produced in the state. As of 2017, hogs on Iowa’s factory farms annually produce 72 billion pounds of manure — two and a half times the weight in human sewage produced by the New York City metropolitan area.

Thanks to factory farms and their unabated expansion, Iowa’s water crisis has deepened over the past year. In 2021, the Raccoon River, a drinking water source to more than half a million Iowans, ranked as one of the nation’s most endangered rivers, thanks to the factory farms that pollute its watershed.

The 2022 CAFO Moratorium Bill includes provisions to expand the reach of the bill, expanding the Department of Natural Resources’ authority to regulate factory farm water pollution, while holding corporate integrators jointly responsible for this pollution. This new provision takes the burden off the shoulders of contract growers trapped in the current system.

“I will not see our state sacrificed so corporations can make a quick buck,” said Representative Art Staed (D-Cedar Rapids). “My 2022 CAFO moratorium bill will stymie corporate ag’s predatory growth in Iowa, confront our water quality crisis, and rectify the unfair treatment of contract growers — all by stopping the new construction of factory farms. My colleagues in the state legislature need to stand up to Big Ag, and hold these corporate players accountable for their environmental degradation. It’s time for a moratorium on factory farms in Iowa.”

John Aspray, Food & Water Watch Senior Iowa Organizer and Chair of the Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture said:

“Factory farms are expanding unchecked in Iowa, and with it our water pollution is reaching crisis levels. For too long, the weight of that pollution burden has fallen on the contract farmers trapped within our industrialized agricultural system. The 2022 CAFO Moratorium Bill will put an end to factory farm expansion and to this glaring inequity, making sure the companies from JBS to Tyson, whose profit-hoarding creates this pollution, can be held responsible for its clean-up.”

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]