Joint Letter to the Editor from JFAN and the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project appearing in the May 26, 2016 Fairfield Ledger 

Pork Producers Received Special Treatment
 
by Diane Rosenberg
Executive Director of Jefferson County Farmers & Neighbors, Inc.
Consultant for the Socially Responsible Agricultural Project
 
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is undergoing a five-year review of factory farm rules. This is an opportunity for Iowans to comment on proposed DNR rule changes and champion stronger environmental and community protections.

At Monday’s first public hearing in Des Moines, numerous community and environmental advocacy organizations attended, and we uncovered an unspoken fact. I pointed out that Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) attorney Eldon McAfee made statements on the rule making process during January’s Iowa Pork Congress. This likely demonstrated that IPPA and other commodity groups participated in the rule review months before advocacy groups were aware of the process. When pressed, DNR Administrator Bill Ehm admitted this to be true.

The DNR considers commodity groups to be stakeholders in the rule making process but not advocacy organizations? Commodity groups represent the financial interests of agricultural industries. Advocacy groups have the well-being of Iowans and land stewardship at heart. Factory farm rules impact many vulnerable Iowans. Organizations working on their behalf should be included in the process.

We respectfully demand that community and environmental advocacy organizations be given a seat at the table to develop the final rule changes. Otherwise this rule making process is a sham.

Please be sure to attend the DNR’s Southeast Iowa public hearing on the proposed rule changes on Tuesday, May 31 at 10 a.m. in Ainsworth, Washington County to comment on the rules. Visit the JFAN website at www.jfaniowa.org to learn about changes that JFAN, Socially Responsible Agricultural Project, and other community and environmental advocacy organizations recommend. Here is also a link to an action alert where you can also comment on the rules.