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.