New CAFO owners state that they will be using “the newest technology and very best practices for handling manure and managing odor, which includes treating the animal manure.”

However, it is important to point out that the current “best practices” of agriculture have created the largest hypoxic zone ever in the Gulf of Mexico about the size of New Jersey. Eighty percent of this is blamed on agricultural run off and developed land with Iowa in the bulls-eye along with nine other Midwestern states.

“Best practices” of factory farming are being blamed for soil, air, and water quality problems. “Best practices” of livestock factory farming are creating significant alarm about the emergence of superbugs for which there are no viable antibiotics to fight them. “Best practices” have displaced more farmers than the employees they hire, often at low wages with high health risks. This does not bode well for the next generation of farmers.

We have conscientiously looked for research that cites the positive benefits and outcomes of factory farming. We have asked individual CAFO owners, corporate farms engaged in CAFO practices, and the Board of Supervisors to offer research that cites the benefits of CAFOs to the community. No one has come forward with any research or any verifiable data. The corporate farm company told us that the research is on the internet, but they were unable to name a specific website nor did they furnish sites on a subsequent date as requested. To date, the only positive outcomes identified in the research are that factory farms benefit investors and corporate farms. They do not benefit Iowa.

Iowa's confinement systems need regulation like most every other industry. We need clean air and clean water. We need safety from superbugs. The DNR needs to revise the Master Matrix, and the legislature needs to significantly change the laws to protect the beauty of Iowa.

Edith Haenel, Northwood

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