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Iowa CAFO bill unlikely to move forward

Iowa CAFO bill unlikely to move forward

State Capital

DES MOINES — Advocates for a moratorium on large livestock confinements warned time is running out for Iowa, but conceded it’s unlikely the Republican-controlled Iowa Legislature will approve their proposal.

“We have spent decades asking for incremental change to address the issue of the factory farm industry,” Emma Schmit of Food and Water Watch said Feb. 9 at a virtual news conference called by supporters of House File 440.

House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, has declared the bill “dead on arrival.”

“The speaker has been consistent on this point: You can’t begin a conversation on this issue with one of the most radical proposals there is,” Grassley spokeswoman Melissa Deatsch said.

Rep. Art Staed, D-Cedar Rapids, and 18 others have co-sponsored HF 440 calling for a moratorium on expansion of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, “because the relentless expansion of these large operation poses threats to our health, our air quality and our drinking water.”

“It’s past time for the Legislature to act,” Staed said. “Ignoring the increasing threat to the health of our rural farms and communities, the threat to our quality of life and the threat to our fragile environment can no longer be business as usual here at the Capitol.”

However, Sen. Claire Celsi, D-West Des Moines, who has introduced similar bills in the past, acknowledged that the bill “has no chance” of approval.

“We need better communication, I think, from rural residents to their rural, mostly Republican representatives,” she said.

HF 440 has not been assigned to a subcommittee for a hearing.

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The Wallace family is well known to many in agriculture based on their leadership in publishing and government in the early 1900s. 

Henry C. Wallace and his son Henry A. Wallace both served as United States secretaries of agriculture, with the latter going on to serve as U.S. vice president and secretary of commerce.

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