Dispatches from the Fields: How CAFOs came to Iowa farm country
One Step at a Time Gardens is a model of agricultural sustainability. Over 50 varieties of vegetables grow in rotation on six acres of fine Iowa topsoil that receive no synthetic chemicals. Compost, cover crops, and chicken manure feed the soil. Pests and weeds are kept at bay through the use of physical barriers, biological products, and cultivation. The crew is made up of members from the community and a couple of non-local folks, such as myself. The farm provides produce to supply a local food system.
Yet when the wind blows from the northwest over One Step at a Time Gardens just east of the town of Kanawha, Iowa, visions of agricultural sustainability quickly fade as the sweet stench of pig manure from the local Confined Animal Feeding Operation or hog confinement, as they say around here, envelops the farm. The Kanawha CAFO consists of five buildings that can each house up to 2,500 hogs. Behind the buildings lies the lagoon, the source of the stench, where all of the manure and waste (dead hogs) are dumped. Read More
This story comes from an environmental website. There are a couple of interesting things to point out about the story. The author speaks of all the supposed horrors that a confinement operation brings to the community. One of them is lowered property values. If you have followed land prices in Iowa lately, I think you will find that hasn’t happened. They also talk about the negative affect on human health. Yet the main characters in the article have lived next to this confinement for 15 years and reported no health problems. All animal feeding operations must have a nutrient management plan and have passed all environmental regulations.