Member of Board of Directors
Good morning. I am John Ikerd. As a board member, I am making this statement this morning on behalf of Jefferson County Farmers and Neighbors.
JFAN has concerns about the Hill View Swine Site 2 Master Matrix including the separation distance of the CAFO from Salina Road, manure pit maintenance, and incorporation of liquid manure. We also found an incomplete Construction Permit Application and Construction Design Statement. JFAN received a complaint about trucks from Hill View Swine not following traffic rules and endangering children in the area. These will be addressed in detail at the Master Matrix scoring session. Our primary concerns regard the threats to the public health and well-being Jefferson County residents posed by CAFO expansion within the county, represented by this additional CAFO application
CAFOs are scientifically documented threats not only to the environment but also to the public health and overall well-being of people in CAFO communities. Odors and toxic fumes from CAFOs are not only a nuisance but can lead to clinical cases of asthma, bronchitis, or chronic lung disease. Iowa is notorious for public health risks associated with waters polluted by its CAFO-corn-soybean system of farming. CAFOs are widely known also as a major source of antibiotic resistant bacteria, such as MRSA, a global pandemic threat. These threats were extensively researched and reported by government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and even by the United Nations.
The most important responsibility of government officials such as you is to protect the safety, health, and well-being of the people they represent. According to the USDA Agricultural Census, only 48 of the 636 farmers in Jefferson County operate CAFOs—about one-out-of-thirteen. Only 3.3 percent, or one-in-thirty, people in Jefferson County are classified as farmers. People chose to live, work, operate businesses, including farms, in Jefferson County primarily because of its reputation as a good place to live and raise families. The continued expansion of CAFOs clearly risks the economic and cultural future of the county.
Supervisors in 26 counties in Iowa have called for a moratorium on CAFOs. Many have rejected CAFO applications because of harms they may pose even though they were forced to pass the weak Master Matrix – approximately 8 last year alone. In fact the Master Matrix resolution gives you the authority to deny the application for any reason. We ask you to follow their lead and reject this application to reflect your commitment to doing everything you possibly can to protect the public health and overall well-being of the people of Jefferson County.