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New CAFO Rules

Sarah Boden
Iowa Public Radio
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement rally after the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission's Aug. 19 meeting.

Totally roofed confined animal feeding operations are now required to have a permit and meet certain federal regulations for discharging manure into U.S. waterways. Iowa’s Environmental Protection Commission voted unanimously on the new CAFO rules today, at a highly emotional hearing.

What the rule change means for Iowa:

Roofed CAFOs tend to have larger herds which produce more manure.

At the meeting, many members from the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement called for stricter regulations with stiffer penalties and fines.  Iowa CCI says CAFO operators aren’t good stewards of the land. 

Cherie Mortice, an Iowa CCI member from Des Moines, says the runoff into the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers threatens municipal drinking water. 

"CAFOs contribute to this toxic witch's brew because of the lack of inspections, requiring permits and tough penalties. The factory farm industry continue to prove year and year that self-regulation and voluntary compliance of good manure management has been a colossal failure."

Many livestock operators say regulation beyond what was passed today would be a burden on the industry. Audubon hog farmer Randy Dreher thinks there isn't enough understanding of CAFOs.

"I wish really the people behind me who are kind of chastising, condemning what we do...actually would come to the farm, be there with a DNR visit and talk about the things we talk about so they understand the things we do every day...I think farmers are doing their job and agencies to oversee us are assisting in that process."

The Iowa Legislature directed the commission to adopt the rules, which are a result of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency putting pressure on the state to better enforce the Clean Water Act.

Adoption was a condition of a work plan agreement between the Iowa DNR and EPA.