Poweshiek CARES meeting, May 20, 2014

Poweshiek CARES will hold a general meeting on Tuesday, May 20, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m, at Drake Community Library, 5th and Park, Grinnell.

Here's the agenda:

  • Welcome
  • Treasurer’s report
  • Committee reports:
    • Legislative Committee
    • Community Impact Committee
    • Partnering Committee
    • RAM Committee
    • Outreach and Education Committee
  • Update on Linsey’s fall Democracy School
  • Update on a state wide Iowa Coalition meeting this July
  • Discussion of county policy on cleaning up vacant CAFO building

Something new and different!

Saturday, February 22, 2014
12 noon to 2 p.m
Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall
1025 5th Avenue, Grinnell

The Partnering Committee has been working hard to develop a network across Iowa that feel the same about huge industrial animal confinements as Poweshiek CARES does. They have compiled a long list of like-minded individuals.

So now it is time to establish our connections with some of these Iowa citizens!

Several have been invited from across the state: Page, Jefferson, Winneshiek, Dallas, Lynn, and Green Counties.

We will provide the main dish, drinks and serviceware for lunch. We ask that you bring a salad or dessert if you are willing and able. If not, no problem—come any way!

These individuals are traveling quite a distance to get to know us. They have their own stories to tell! Our goal is to strengthen relationships across Iowa. Without this coalition we will not have the strength to make needed change!

This event will enlighten us to the similarities/differences in each part of the state:

  • Boards of Supervisors-actions they have taken (or not)
  • Attitudes of neighboring citizens/changes seen in neighborhoods when CAFOs move in
  • Difficulty in selling property
  • Community actions to stop the proliferation of CAFOs—what worked?
  • Health effects in humans and animals
  • Changes in personal lifestyle when a CAFO moved into your neighborhood

We will conclude by discussing where we want to go next!

Poweshiek CARES meeting, January 22, 2014

Joyce Otto, President of Poweshiek CARES, began the meeting at 7:02 p.m., setting a tone for the meeting by displaying a map of the CAFOs in Iowa and describing our state as an “ecological sacrifice zone.” She once more recommeded the movie The lorax, which deals with the environmental consequences of corporate control and influence, and added a recommendation for the documentary Food, Inc.

Speaking for the Legislative Committee, Marilyn Barnes outlined some possibilities for legislative action, resulting from a brainstorming session earlier this month. She brought along the list of proposals and asked us to go through and select a short list of items from it, and we compiled the choices. As a group, we were most enthusiastic about the proposal to tax confinement properties as industrial or commercial rather than agricultural, and supported the proposals to increase the “passing grade” on the master matrix to 75%, with some absolute requirements; to allow the University of Iowa to conduct and publish air quality studies; and to adopt the Community Assessment Model constructed by Iowa State University.

The Legislative Committee had favored a proposal to eliminate the property tax exemption for manure pits (perhaps replacing it with an exemption for air filters) and one to eliminate the practice of claiming master-matrix points for manure handling when the manure is actually being handled by someone else to whom the factory owner has sold it.

The priorities we settled on as a group were the proposal to tax confinement properties as industrial, to increase the passing grade on the master matrix to 75%, to conduct and publish air studies, and to require additives to be added to the manure pit.

Val Vetter, our treasurer, reported on the state of our finances. Our balance is $3246.73. Extra contributions for IFU membership, not required for that purpose, will be added to the general fund.

Joyce proposed a new expenditure policy: Any disbursement greater than $100 will be approved by the board.

Joyce announced that Poweshiek CARES is now a member of the Iowa Farmers Union.

She had hoped to invite Thomas Linzey to visit Grinnell when JFAN held the Democracy School, but they have decided to postpone that event until fall. Joyce has contacted the Community Environment Defense Fund and asked whether he might come out and do a four-hour workshop. Joyce asked how many of us would attend such a workshop; Val, Stephanie Porter, Nancy Cadmus, Jim Yunglas, Laforest Sherman, and Joyce (and, according to Stephanie, two more people from the College—Vincent Kelley and Mary Jane).

Jean Perri reported on the arrangements she has set in motion with the goal of providing Poweshiek CARES with a logo. Val asked each of us to write a few words epitomizing the values that Poweshiek CARES stands for. These were collected and will be forwarded to the designer.

We'll invite representatives of similar organizations in other Iowa counties to our February general meeting, which will be an event centered around a meal (with potluck desserts). We'll meet on Saturday, February 22 to network and exchange ideas, from noon through 4 p.m. Val wondered whether EHSLC might help to organize such events (JFAN is proposing one in Des Moines in July).

Val was put in charge of forming a nominating committee.

Laforest asked Marilyn to bring us up to date on the decisions of the Board of Supervisors in regard to Fremont Farms' and Poweshiek Pullets' applications to expand their local chicken factories. On the January 13, the Board of Supervisors postponed the hearing on the master matrix to January 16. At the session on January 16, Marilyn presented a strong and comprehensive case that the application was deficient, non-conforming, and short on master-matrix points. The supervisors approved it anyway, on the DNR's assurance that the application would be accepted.

Laforest attended the governor's annual budget hearing and spoke on behalf of CCI, voicing some of our organization's concerns. His remarks were recorded, and excerpts were replayed on KGRN.

Donna Winburn mentioned that there will be meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 29, at the Manhattan Steak House in Centerville, sponsored by the Appanoose County organization Iowans Downwind. John Ikard and several others will speak. They'll be responding to proposed CAFOs in Davis County.

Donna also announced that the Jasper County League of Women Voters meets on the third Saturday of each month. Dennis Black, she reported, is shifting his position on CAFOs and is sponsoring a bill to add twenty-three DNR inspectors. Oskaloosa (Mahaska County) LVM meets on the last Saturday of the month, Poweshiek LVM on the first Saturday of the month, at 9 a.m. at the Presbyterian Church. State representatives generally show up to answer questions.

We adjourned at 20:52.

Report from the December 30 meeting of the Poweshiek County Board of Supervisors

Joyce Otto attended the December 30 meeting of the Poweshiek County Board of Supervisors. She reports:

The meeting was a disappointment overall, but especially when Trevor and Larry voted to approve the permit. When using the words “approve the permit” it sounds fairly harmless. In reality they gave approval to sentence the community around Fremont Farms to suffer more, with the addition of 1,050,000 laying hens. Those living near this factory farm are victims—increased odors, increased levels of toxic gases, more water pollution, decreased property values. Suffering of the everyday citizens just so Fremont can become richer. I feel Trevor and Larry have actually caused harm to the quality of life and property values in Poweshiek County.

Their argument? They passed the Master Matrix (460 points out of 880 points) and money. Oh that's right, money and unjust laws are more important than the life of citizens. They will someday look back on this day and feel regret. Or maybe our county will be so saturated with CAFOs that their families will have to live with these horrible effects just like a lot of us do. Bad decision.

So, that means we have a lot of work to do.

Write your note/letter to the supervisors and tell them what you think and feel. Do it now. January 2nd is the last day to get your opinion to them since they will mail their decision along with all of our comments in to DNR on January 3rd.

  • Larry Wilson, Poweshiek County Board of Supervisors, 1512 Fourth Avenue, Grinnell, Iowa 50112 (poweshieksupervisorwilson@gmail.com)
  • Lamoyne Gaard, Poweshiek County Board of Supervisors, 931 Summer Street, Grinnell, Iowa 50112 (lamoyne@iowatelecom.net)
  • Trevor White, Poweshiek County Board of Supervisors, 3751 V18 Road, Brooklyn, Iowa 52211 (tnpwhite@netins.net)

Opposing the chicken-factory expansion

Joyce Otto has more details on the proposed expansion of the Fremont Farms chicken factories. It involves two sites in Poweshiek County:

  • East of Grinnell, northwest of Malcom. The application submitted to the Board of Supervisors proposed two additional buildings, to accommodate 525,000 laying chickens each, and the completion of a building for storing dry manure. This would raise the total number of chickens at this site to 7,630,000.
  • Southwest of Malcom, in Pleasant Township (section 3). The application sought four new barns, each holding 250,000 chicken pullets (chicks to adults) and a new structure for stockpiling dry manure. This would raise the total number of chickens at this site to 2,281,200.

The first public hearing on these proposals will be held on Thursday, December 19, at 8:30 a.m., in the Supervisors' Room at the county courthouse at Montezuma. A second public hearing on the same expansions will be held at the same location on Monday, January 6, at 8:30 a.m. [Update, December 20: The second public hearing on the expansion of the first site has been moved up to Monday, December 30, at 8:30 a.m. The second site will still be discussed at the January 6 hearing.]

Joyce writes:

Your attendance at these meetings is very important! Don't hesitate to share your thoughts!

Poweshiek citizens must protect our county from more contamination (because our government will not!) Unless WE stand up for our rights—clean air and protection of property values—our community will be devalued even more!

These huge confinement corporations think only about more money, not the human beings that are affected by toxic gases and odors, lowering our quality of life and property values.

The cities of Grinnell and Malcom already live with odors from Fremont Farms—why should they have to live with 1,050,000 more chickens to smell? Citizens of Pleasant Township will live with these pullet barns and their 23,150 confined hogs! More? Really? When is enough enough? Quality of life on your own property is a basic human right! We have to fight for that right! Stand up for all citizens' rights and tell them NO MORE!

Besides attending the supervisors' meetings there are other actions to take! All notes we send must accompany the the applications. Let's give them hundreds!

  1. Make your voice heard through emails and/or letters. You can send the same note/letter to all the supervisors, DNR staff and legislatures. Be as detailed as you wish. You can also phone them. My letter will be short and direct. Do your letter now! A few words is better than nothing.
    • Larry Wilson, Poweshiek County Board of Supervisors, 1512 Fourth Avenue, Grinnell, Iowa 50112 (poweshieksupervisorwilson@gmail.com)
    • Lamoyne Gaard, Poweshiek County Board of Supervisors, 931 Summer Street, Grinnell, Iowa 50112 (lamoyne@iowatelecom.net)
    • Trevor White, Poweshiek County Board of Supervisors, 3751 V18 Road, Brooklyn, Iowa 52211 (tnpwhite@netins.net)
    • Chuck Gipp, Director of the Department of Natural Resources, 502 East Ninth Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319–0034 (chuck.gipp@dnr.iowa.gov)
    • Paul Petitti, Environmental Engineer, Department of Natural Resources, 1900 North Grand Avenue, Spencer, Iowa 51301 (paul.petitti@dnr.iowa.gov)
    • Ted Petersen, Field Staff Supervisor, Department of Natural Resources, 401 Southwest Seventh Street, Suite I, Des Moines, Iowa 50309 (ted.petersen@dnr.iowa.gov)
    • David Maxwell, State Representative (dave.maxwell@legis.iowa.gov)
    • Tim Kapucian, State Senator (tim.kapucian@legis.iowa.gov)
  2. Attachments to this email: Newspaper notification, Lists of residents that own land within one mile of the sites being expanded. If you know any of these people, talk to them. If they express a need for support, Poweshiek CARES would like to help them (jotto@iowatelecom.com). Please give them give them CCI's phone number (515–282–0484) as well—they have great, knowledgable staff to assist.
  3. Forward this information to everyone you know who is tired of our countryside being filled with huge animal confinements!
  4. Write a letter to the editor. (I have information of where to send them.)