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It's Not Just the Odor that Stinks

January 14, 2008

Des Moines, IA – There's a proposal on the table to spend up to $5 million dollars a year over the next five years to provide incentives for Iowa's livestock confinement operations to reduce the noxious odors associated with these types of businesses. However, some of the folks concerned about these operations say the smell is only the beginning of the problem.

Hardin County farmer John Gilbert, a board member of the Iowa Farmers Union, warns there are much more serious problems presented by factory farms that he believes are not being addressed.

"The damage they do to the environment, to the society, to our economy and to the marketplace are, in a lot of ways, much more severe than just the odor."

The plan, which totals nearly $23 million, was the brainchild of the Iowa Legislature's interim "Livestock Odor Study Committee," but the incentives it has proposed are voluntary. Gilbert hopes this year, state lawmakers will give local communities more say in the matter.

"They should certainly start with giving local control to counties on where these things are sited."

Gilbert adds that, although lawmakers were elected last year on promises to fix the rift between livestock confinement operators and their neighbors, in his view, issues other than odor prevention have not been addressed so far.

Dick Layman/John Robinson, Public News Service - IA