Iowa is under attack. With over 10,000 factory farms overwhelming the state, our water, communities, and quality of life are at risk. But Iowans are ready to stand up and fight back.
You’ve probably never heard of Lohrville, Iowa. It is one of the smaller, more rural towns in the state -- home to only 360 people! With so few residents, Lorhville has become the perfect target for land hungry, profit driven factory farm corporations. And the town recently became the target of the factory farm hog industry.
After a monumental effort to protect a local creek from pollution, the town updated a deteriorating septic system which involved spending $4 million dollars. Shortly after, Burr Oak Growers, LLC (a company based out of Wisconsin) applied to build a 5,000 head hog factory farm in the same area. In one fell swoop the very creek was suddenly at risk of major pollution again, this time in the form of tons and tons of hog manure.
In response, infuriated residents collected nearly 150 signatures (roughly 40% of the town’s residents!) to demand the Board of Supervisors deny the Burr Oaks application. And the Board of Supervisors listened -- they denied the factory farm in a huge win for the people. The application was then sent to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to review.
The DNR has only denied 2.2% of all factory farms in Iowa. So unsurprisingly, they did not deny the Burr Oaks facility either. However, that setback did not stop the people of Lorhville. They convinced the Board of Supervisors to appeal the decision to the Environmental Protection Commission (EPC).
On Tuesday, October 16th, a dozen members of the community and the Board of Supervisors made the 2 hour drive to the Iowa State Capitol. After 45 minutes of testimony from the Board of Supervisors, Burr Oaks Growers, and impacted citizens, the EPC refused to take a vote.
The EPC failed to protect rural citizens. They failed to listen to the people who know their community best and put Big Ag before Iowans. Now, Lohrville will be home to another 5,000 hogs. Residents will see their property values plummet, they will have to pay for repairs to the roadways caused by trucks hauling hogs and feed to the facility, they will see their water and air quality put at risk. This is all thanks to an out of state company aiming to make a few more dollars.
It doesn’t have to be this way. We need local control. Iowa doesn't allow communities to have any meaningful power over this industry, as the residents of Lohrville now know. With local control, the Board of Supervisors would be able to deny factory farms like the Burr Oaks facility. Right now, the people impacted the most -- local citizens -- are largely left out of the process. That’s not right. Decisions that shape our ways of life should not be made without us.
Lack of local control is one more reason why it's time for a factory farm moratorium in Iowa. We need an agricultural system that works for all of us, and not just for Big Ag. Sign our petition to ban factory farms today.