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March 2012 Archive for U.S. Farm Report Mailbag

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Iowa Farmer Comments on the CAFO Debate

Mar 19, 2012

Dear John:

   Thank you for the Iditarod Story today. It was really enjoyable.  I would also like to thank you for your comments re: CAFO's.  I am a 4th-generation family farmer who (10 yrs. ago) fought & won the battle to keep a man from building his 7,000-sow confinement abt. 1895-feet from our farm home. But that was one battle, and they continue to be built ad nauseum in this state.
   In Iowa, the lobbyists from Farm Bureau & the Coalition to Support Iowa Farmers, keep any kind of meaningful regulation of CAFO's from passing through our legislature.  And now they, and Gov. Branstad, have pushed through this ridiculous legislation to keep cameras out of their confinements.  I am like you:  What exactly is going on in the CAFO's that a law has to be passed in order to keep the public completely ignorant?
   In Iowa, the Dept. of Natural Resources is supposed to enforce the regulations that govern CAFO's. That dept. has now been defunded to the point that it is almost irrelevant. Next week I will attend a hearing in which the DNR will set forth their plan to not fine a producer or enforce the regulations but, rather, sit down & talk to him about what he might like to do differently. We are a state with hundreds of fresh water sources. But the confinement industry has been allowed to foul them to the point that we have 542+ impaired waterways in this state.
   Don't get me wrong: I grew up with livestock and my husband & I raised hogs, cattle & sheep for many years.Our children showed livestock in 4-H.  But I am not a fan of the CAFO industry and the stranglehold it has on our state. 
   Thank you for your comments. And thank you for a good show every week. I don't miss it very often.
Barbara Kalbach
Dexter, IA
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