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Senior Contributor

Letter to the editor: Hog 'factories' helping to empty rural Iowa

And this Letter to the Editor in the main Iowa paper says what the whole problem is. City People buy a little 10 acre lot and build a house on it and then when farmers put up hog buildings they have a major problem. Anyway, the letter is below:

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Letter to the editor: Hog 'factories' helping to empty rural Iowa

 

Richard Doak had an excellent column on the demise of Iowa’s rural communities [“Where Are We Headed?”, April 28]. However, he neglected a very important factor: the proliferation of hog factories.

We purchased our acreage some 35 years ago. Since then, seven farmsteads within 11/2 miles have been abandoned, most with groves and buildings bulldozed and fences pulled. These families supported our schools, churches and main street businesses.

Five hog factories have replaced them, with more likely to come, as they tend to cluster. The resulting odors and emissions are health hazards to neighbors, and property values are affected. In too many cases, waste is over-applied, spread up to creek banks and across waterways.

There are currently over 6,000 hog confinements in Iowa. Iowa law opened the flood gates in 1995, and nothing has been done since to slow or regulate the industry. Efforts are continuously made to weaken existing regulations. The industry essentially controls our Legislature. Our air, water and rural communities will continue to be the big losers, and as rural communities diminish, so does their political voice.

— D.G. Partridge, Wall Lake

 

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22 Replies
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Honored Advisor

Re: Letter to the editor: Hog 'factories' helping to empty rural Iowa

Welcome to my world....
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Veteran Advisor

Re: Letter to the editor: Hog 'factories' helping to empty rural Iowa

Whether you farm in Iowa, North Carolina or Michigan these issues come up. It seems to get worse as more people get further and further removed from the farm. I see the owner by proximity attitude by non farm residence a lot here. People who own an acre or two with a home seem to believe they own the land that surrounds their home.

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Honored Advisor

Re: Letter to the editor: Hog 'factories' helping to empty rural Iowa

The real issue of emptying out of a region usually isn't the influx of hog farms, though. Even the author of the letter gives the chronology of houses/ farmsteads going empty, being sold out, then leveled, all before the hog farms replace some of them.

In general, that which occurs in time after another event, cannot be the proximate cause of the succeeding " effect". If the houses are gone, then the hog farms didn't cause them to go. I know that where we built our hog farm in NC, the particular farm we bought had been in an estate and up for sale for roughly 20 years...and the several houses on it had emptied out and fallen into disrepair over several decades, even well before the owner died.

Permitting requirements for waste management require significant land base here, and probably on newer operations elsewhere by now. If you get by with N based planning, you need far less acreage per animal unit than if you get forced into P based planning.

You do not go to the most populous area, where land values tend to be much higher, to buy a large tract of land. That drives hog farms to site for economic factors, and I understand as fertilizer generators for farmland as well. We are even seeing pig shipments being organized more and more around fuel burn, more with each passing year. Some locations are just too remote to be of economic value.

Coincidentally, we are located within a few miles of two huge prisons, which are also usually driven away from populous areas. We are cited out of the 100-year flood plain, and have 2500-foot setbacks from daycares and certain other uses. in NC, it is essentially impossible to build new, as it has been since 1995, when the moratorium first passed.

Look around for landfills and other necessities that no one wants to live near. Ironically, when discussing waste and water, human sewer plants tend to sit right near the river...we all know s$&t doesn't run uphill.
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Senior Contributor

Re: Letter to the editor: Hog 'factories' helping to empty rural Iowa

It doesn't help when some intentionally try to cause odor to bother their neighbors.
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Senior Contributor

Re: Letter to the editor: Hog 'factories' helping to empty rural Iowa

Blacksandfarmer- yes, excellent point. In Iowa these "Back to Farming" people buy a 5 acre building site out in the country, build a house and then expect everything to remain the same. And if someone puts up a Hog Building they scream "Bloody Murder". And yes they feel they also own the land all around there little house. I don't know what these people expect when they move out into the country, but they should realize that land zoned for Agricultural use can be used for hog buildings.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Letter to the editor: Hog 'factories' helping to empty rural Iowa

If you live in the city rSw how do you know if it smells   ?

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Advisor

Re: Letter to the editor: Hog 'factories' helping to empty rural Iowa

Buckfarmer, how does one intentionally try to cause odor for their neighbors? Can you prove beyond doubt that an operation like this is intentional? They might be negligent, perhaps, but intentional..... There has to be pretty bad blood between neighbors to incite someone. Commonsense would force most people to consider the legal ramifications before doing something foolish and costly.
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Senior Contributor

Re: Letter to the editor: Hog 'factories' helping to empty rural Iowa

Smokey: I can't prove it but my neighbor only spreads on Friday evening during the fall on his fields closest to the football field when there is a home game(I don't even go to the games but live close to the field). Weekends when the village is having a festival. And on the hotest, windiest days durring the summer. I don't think he is spreading on Sunday but does something to cause a smell that doesn't smell any other day of the week. Sometimes on random weekday evenings the smell starts about the time folks that work office jobs get home. So..... No I can't prove anything. Just know the few other hog farms around don't smell nearly as bad. The only time I smell the other places is when they are spreading.
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Advisor

Re: Letter to the editor: Hog 'factories' helping to empty rural Iowa

Well . . . Many Big Pig outfits were already in the area when the tree huggers decided they wanted to live in the country where they can breathe clean air and enjoy the bucolic country side which in most of Iowa North of I-80 exists only in ativistc part of their minds.  You know, "like it was on the farm when they grew up on one". 

 

Northern Iowa (North of I-80) is the largest open air sewer (next to North Carolina) in the world. Water aquifers have been poisoned by hog manure as well as the NH3 and other "killer" products injected and planted on that ground up there.  

 

Most of the soil organisms in that region of Iowa has now been destroyed, in short there is nothing healthy in the soil profile, and each year millions of tons of hog manure and chemicals, and fertilizers are poured onto farm by "Slob Farmers", who have adopted the mentality that "as long as I get mine, who cares about the next guy".

 

Today . . . if a person wants to find a place in Iowa where living things flourish, water in wells can still be consumed, and the soil is still alive one has to go to the less populated counties of Southern Iowal, which was in fact wiped out by the farm depression of the 80's, and where much of the land is in CRP, Pasture, Timber and the streams still contain fish one can actually consume without a problem.  

 

The garden spot of Iowa is the South of I-80, and is not viewed as an important part of grain production in the state and is a place where combination farms still exist, where crop and livestock production still exists. 

 

What you have in North Central Iowa is a dead zone with no real soil life, which was brought on by the ISU crowd that pushed, insecticides, chemicals, genetics, and continuous corn and CAFO's.  Sooooo . . . now you know the truth, the North Central part of Iowa may produce large crops but the price they have paid in killing off organisms will lead to their own doom. 

 

I think most people moving to the country, like trees, wildlife, clean water, clean air, and healthy soil all of which does not exist in the dead soil North of I-80,  but all of which does still exist in South Central Iowa and most of Southern Iowa. 

 

Any Big Pig outfit in Iowa should be required to build a sewer facility simillar to what is required for every town in Iowa.  A Big Pig outfit, will produce the same amount of sewage as a small city of 10,000 people.  

 

Plus . . . we do not want to talk about all the damage being done by antibiotics being pumped onto the ground and into it by these facilities which find their way int acquifers and waterways.  But . . . look at the bright side . . . without them we would not have listeria in our fish, two headed snakes or six legged frogs, all of which are freaks, just like those who dumped these chemicals into our waterways. 

 

Adios Amigos.   John

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