Factory Farms

When people used to ask me what I was going to do in retirement, I would often say, “Move back to Iowa, buy a boat and a dog, and get involved in Democratic politics and land use issues in Iowa.” Well, my job as interim Dean of Trinity Cathedral has put some of those plans on hold for a while. But I did find myself testifying before the Scott County Board of Supervisors last night in opposition to the construction of a cattle confinement planned near North Liberty.

The operation would have four confinement barns of 700 feel by 90 feet. EACH barn would hold 1,222 head of cattle with the ability to “finish” about 9,500 head of cattle a year. Even with new technology, the concern of many of us is proximity to rivers and the lasting effect it will have on our environment, the air quality and sustainability. Think of all that waste, concentrated not spread out of hundreds and hundreds of acres, going directly into the water supply underground!

Most people who spoke, spoke against it. I said simply, “I am not a farmer. But I am an Iowan. And I am a pastor. This is wrong. Wrong for the animals, wrong for the land, wrong for the water, wrong for the air, wrong for our community! Please do not let this go forward.”

The result? Unanimous support from the Board of Supervisors.

The God Almighty dollar wins again.

The earth loses…

2 Responses to “Factory Farms”

  1. Sally Oosterhuis Says:

    Frustrating is an understatement. I forwarded your “Factory Farms” to my son — an environmental consultant. His reply,

    “It’s frustrating to read things like the Dean’s article. Farmers are largely exempt from the Clean Water Act and are by far the worst polluters in the US as a result. The agriculture lobby has been fighting successfully for decades to maintain the exemption.”

  2. Bishop Chris Epting Says:

    Thanks for forwarding this little piece to your son, Sally. It’s encouraging to have his affirmation that I was on the right track. Discouraging, of course, that his expertise reinforces the fact that our “factory farmers” remain among the worst polluters…all the while trumpeting their love for the land!

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