Rep. Staed Joins Picket Line at IA State Capitol; Announces Independent Hearing on Factory Farm Moratorium

Iowans hold Valentine’s Day themed picket, demanding moratorium on factory farms

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Food System

For Immediate Release

DES MOINES, IA — This afternoon, dozens of advocates from the Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture picketed the State Capitol, demanding a legislative moratorium on factory farms. Representative Art Staed (D-Cedar Rapids), the prime bill sponsor of HF 2305, the 2022 factory farm moratorium bill, joined the picket line to announce a peoples’ hearing for the legislation.

“This must be the last year my colleagues in the legislature debate Iowans’ fundamental right to a clean environment,” said Representative Art Staed (D-Cedar Rapids). “I call for an independent hearing this Spring to clearly debate in a public forum the necessity of a moratorium on factory farms in Iowa — it’s high time this issue received the attention it deserves.”

This year marks the fifth that Iowa legislators and advocates have collaborated to introduce legislation stemming the predatory growth of factory farms in Iowa. Despite the legislation’s popularity, backed by 63% of Iowa voters and boasting 20 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, this is expected to be the fifth year that the Republican-dominated legislature stops factory farm moratorium legislation from getting a hearing. In lieu of a legislative hearing to debate the merits of the bill, boasting expanded provisions to protect contract growers and the environment, Rep. Staed committed today to host an independent hearing on the bill, expected in April.

Picketers cheered the announcement, holding Valentine’s Day themed signage calling on the legislature to pass a factory farm moratorium, out of love for Iowa’s farmers, communities, environment, and future generations. John Aspray, Food & Water Watch Senior Iowa Organizer and Chair of the Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture said:

“For the love of all things we hold dear, from Iowa’s farmers and our communities to our drinking water and the climate, it is time to pass a moratorium on factory farms in Iowa. With each year that the legislature fails to address the issue, hundreds more factory farms take root in our state. It’s no wonder a vast majority of us want to stop this industry’s predatory growth. We look forward to a public hearing where Iowans can shed light on the truth about factory farms — and why they must be stopped.”

“Decades of market consolidation have displaced many of Iowa’s independent family livestock farms, replacing them with contract production, industrial-scale facilities, and out-of-state corporate ownership,” said Deborah Bunka, Iowa Farmers Union Representative to the Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture. “Iowa Farmers Union supports the creation of a plan for rural development that prioritizes the role of locally-owned family farms in stewarding our natural resources, promoting quality of life in rural communities, and serving as engines for the rural economy. We believe a CAFO moratorium must be part of that.”

“Not only do factory farms pose a threat to Iowa’s waterways, as reports from the Iowa DNR of more than 700 impairments in our rivers, streams, and lakes demonstrate, but they also create inhumane conditions for the livestock raised in them,” said Jan Corderman of the Des Moines Branch of the Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom. “The cramped conditions inside these facilities prevent animals from engaging in natural behaviors and instead create high levels of stress and suffering that simply aren’t as common on independent farms.”

The independent hearing on the 2022 factory farm moratorium bill is expected to be held in April, offering legislators the opportunity to hear from Iowans about the urgent need for a factory farm moratorium in Iowa.

Photos of the event will be available here. Watch the livestream and event recording here.

Contact: Phoebe Galt, [email protected]