The livestock industry is changing. New technology to reduce pollution and contain particulates on site is being developed. Why isn’t it being used? Please ask your local pharmacist if the avian flu and swine flu now make up 50 percent of the flu vaccine we take every year. They will confirm that it is.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), disease spreading between animals and humans is happening. Documentation shows huge issues of pollution, failed contracts, failed infrastructure and producers giving up their family farms based on this failed model of Ag production.

I’ve been involved in many aspects of agriculture as a crop & livestock producer, cafo operator, hog buyer and more. I see the changes in farming and the livestock industry firsthand. Profits have shifted from the farmer to the corporate owners at the top of a pyramid type structure. Foreign investors from China, Brazil, Canada etc., reap the benefits while leaving little profit for those at the bottom.

This style of agriculture is already obsolete. It has caused massive taxpayer bailouts with disease outbreaks, massive pollution issues which in too many cases cannot be reversed, human health issues and so it goes.

 I will close with this quote from Robert Kennedy Jr.: “I always saw pollution as theft, and I always thought why should somebody be able to pollute the air, which belongs to all of us, or destroy a river or a waterway, which is supposed to belong to the whole community?”


(5) comments


Unfortunately, they keep voting for the same politicians over and over again.


You can also ask your pharmacist how the avian flu and swine flu strains have been coming out of South East Asia for literally thousands of years. And scientist have yet to figure out the link between diseases spreading between animals and humans.

And good grief, have you been to Iowa? Does that look like a land of "pollution, failed contracts, failed infrastructure and producers giving up their family farms"? They have better roads, schools, cleaner farms, and more acreages. It is certainly not a land with a failed model of Ag production.

Of course it isn't just ag production that leads to a robust economy. It's diversification that is key. More opportunity for jobs, value added production, services, and access to markets will grow an economy in an era of increased competition. Speaking out against that diversification with bad logic and false equivalencies is well, just pig headed.


Frank Kloucek apeaking out against that diversification. Mr. Kloucek is acknowledging the economics and government subsidies have "reap the benefits (for corporate owners) while leaving little profit for those at the bottom."

MJohnson's assertion that, "...scientist have yet to figure out the link between diseases spreading between animals and humans" is not supported by the scientific evidence. As Mr. Kloucek notes, According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), disease spreading between animals and humans is happening.


My comment should start: "Frank Kloucek is not speaking out against that diversification."

(I've complained to the P&D about their clunky comment section, when they changed it. They told me it was intentional. Why the P&D seeks to discourage public comments was not explained.)

Frank Kloucek

Please read this article that yes Iowa is impacted by Cafos FJK.
Impacts of the CAFO explosion on water quality and public health
James Merchant and David Osterberg, Iowa View contributors Published 11:27 a.m. CT Jan. 24, 2018 | Updated 11:28 a.m. CT Jan. 24, 2018

Gary Netser, a landowner in Iowa County is upset after two small confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) were built across the street from his home. Small confinements are not subject to the same distance regulations as large-scale operations. Kelsey Kremer/The Register Photo
(Photo: Bryon Houlgrave/The Register)
Iowa has more than four times as many large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) as it did in 2001, and over the last decade has added nearly 500 new or expanded state-permitted CAFOs annually — now an estimated 10,000 CAFOs of all sizes.

This remarkable expansion is fueled by Iowa’s robust export market for slaughtered hogs, nearly $6 billion in 2016, up 7 percent in one year. Exports to Hong Kong/China broke the $1 billion mark for the first time in 2016. Exports are expected to further expand to meet China’s insatiable appetite for pork, and with export demand come new pork processing plants and sustained CAFO growth.

Iowa’s lax “Master Matrix” process for CAFO siting is broken — 97 percent of requested permits are approved — even in fragile karst topography, over objections of county supervisors in now 20 counties, and despite the protests of neighbors and citizen groups. All have been disenfranchised by the considerable clout of the livestock industry.

A tipping point has been reached. Rural Iowans have every reason to be concerned.

While water quality is a stated priority of Iowa lawmakers, livestock production is an important contributor to water degradation and goes unchecked. Manure leaks and spills are associated with fish kills, nitrate and ammonia pollution, antibiotics, hormones, bacterial contamination, algae blooms, water quality impairments and closed beaches and are a major contributor to the “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico.

Continued CAFO expansion will only worsen these documented environmental impacts and must be part of the solution to Iowa’s widely recognized water-quality problem.

Numerous studies in the last decade also have documented the impact of CAFO air emissions on the health of neighbors, finding significant increases in childhood asthma, adult asthma, airway obstruction, and irritant-linked eye and upper airway symptoms.

The Des Moines Register.

Other studies have documented negative impacts of CAFO air emissions on mood (more tension, depression, fatigue, confusion and less vigor), other psychosocial measures, and between odor and multiple quality-of-life measures. Several studies now find that property value near animal feeding operations, depending on distance, wind direction and other factors, is depressed 20 to 40 percent.

While one cannot ignore this now extensive scientific evidence, there is every indication that the industry intends to do business as usual. Not only happy with the Master Matrix, the industry is fortified by a new anti-nuisance suit law that prevents or severely limits real nuisance damages and seeks to eliminate from consideration evidence-based adverse health effects research.

James Merchant
James Merchant (Photo: Special to the Register)

To control and eventually diminish these negative impacts, and to sustain long-term farm animal production in Iowa, we suggest six policies for rural Iowans, supervisors and legislators to consider:

reform and revise the Master Matrix,
pass a moratorium on new CAFOs,
consider land covenants and other local legal strategies to limit local CAFO growth,
challenge the constitutionality of anti-nuisance suit and ag-gag legislation,
consider renewable energy from animal waste legislation,
and fund communicable disease and sustainable agriculture programs.
The current industrial model is not sustainable given its high input costs, rising energy demands, fresh water needs, climate change, and adverse environmental and public health impacts. The very real pushback from rural residents and communities will, however, be sustained.

James Merchant is professor emeritus of public health and medicine and founding dean emeritus of the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa.

David Osterberg is professor emeritus of occupational and environmental health at the University of Iowa and co-founder of the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project in Iowa City.

David Osterberg
David Osterberg (Photo: Special to the Register)

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