Last week, Wayne County Supervisors voted to deduct points and recommend denial of an Iowa Select factory farm application. The proposed site would have housed 7,400 corporate hogs and ruined the quality of life for surrounding neighbors. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (Iowa DNR) has 30 days to decide whether they side with residents and local elected officials of Wayne County or with the factory farm polluter Iowa Select.
Neighbors of the proposed facility rallied together on several occasions to tell Iowa Select that they don’t want the factory farm in their neighborhood or anywhere else in Iowa. Over 40 neighbors showed up to a tour of the proposed facility where they pressured Iowa Select to withdraw their application and asked tough questions about how they would ensure the factory farm would not pollute their air, local water sources, wells, and quality of life. Iowa Select was unable to guarantee that the factory farm would not impact their lives.
“We moved out here because it's a different way of life. These factory farms will ruin that!” said Holly Throckmorton.
Over 50 community members attended and testified at last week’s County Supervisors meeting, successfully convincing the supervisors to deny the application because of a failing Master Matrix score and outcry over the factory farm’s negative impacts. Now, the application heads to the DNR for review, where they will make the final decision on whether to approve or deny the application.
Pam Woollis, a neighbor within less than a mile of the proposed site, said she will continue to pressure Iowa Select and the DNR to cancel any plans for expanding the factory farm industry in Wayne County.
“Our community showed corporate ag that we’re stronger when we stand together. We’re glad we have the support of our supervisors, and we’ll continue pushing for more family farmers that actually care about the land, water, and our community. We will fight any factory farm in Wayne and Lucas counties.” said Pam Woollis.
The situation in Wayne County highlights the uphill battle the communities face when corporate factory farms propose to build in their communities with a failed permitting process.
“Last month Iowa CCI filed a formal petition with the Iowa DNR to strengthen the factory farm application process. We’re asking the DNR to strengthen the Master Matrix by requiring a higher passing grade, giving counties more time for review, increasing environmental protections, and more. We hope DNR uses this opportunity to stand with communities over corporations by denying this factory farm and strengthening the Master Matrix for all future applications,” said CCI Organizer Erica Blair.
Iowa has over 10,000 factory farms that produce more than 22 billion gallons of toxic liquid manure annually.