Over 900 educational books on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) were donated this month to state and local officials, universities, and a selection of libraries by Jefferson County Farmers & Neighbors, Inc. (JFAN), a nonprofit educational foundation based in Fairfield, Iowa.
The book, CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories, edited by Daniel Imhoff, is an illustrated compendium of essays by today’s leading thinkers on food and agriculture. It explores the state of modern food production and offers a compelling vision on how to produce healthy, affordable food without compromising Iowa’s resources, public health, or local economies.
All 100 state representatives, 49 state senators, and 377 county supervisors received the book as well as the public health departments and county conservation boards in all 99 Iowa counties. In addition, many administrative members of the Iowa Departments of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and Public Health were sent a copy as well as nearly all Iowa’s colleges and universities. A selection of 115 public libraries covering all county seats and large cities also received the books.
The distribution of this book comes at a time when Iowa is experiencing an increase in the number of new and expanding hog confinements, many of which are being challenged by concerned neighbors and boards of supervisors. CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories was sent to offer policymakers and others a deep understanding of how industrial livestock systems affect all Iowans – farmers, rural and urban residents, and business owners – as well as offer a vision of viable alternatives that are financially sound for farmers and communities, and safer for consumers and the environment.
Some representatives, supervisors, and other state employees questioned whether they could accept the books as its $50 value exceeded the $3.00 legal limit of gifts. A letter to JFAN from Megan Tooker, Director and Legal Counsel for the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, clarified that under 68B.22(4)(b) of the Iowa Code, “informational material relevant to a public official’s or public employee’s official functions, such as books, pamphlets, [etc]…” were considered an exception and that “government officials and employees may accept this book under this exception.”
Distribution of CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Factories was made possible by a grant from the Deep Ecology Fund of Tides Foundation. Established in 1976, the Tides Foundation is one of the top 100 social sector organizations in the United States, supporting over 800 nonprofit projects since its founding.
Jefferson County Farmers & Neighbors, Inc. (JFAN) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational foundation that has been working to protect the quality of life of Jefferson County residents since 2005.