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Enough Is Enough

June 26, 2018
by Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

Last week the Supervisors approved another five hog confinements to be built in Palo Alto County. Most of the five, as well as all other hog confinements in the county, have managed to pass the Iowa Department of Natural Resource's Master Matrix. And most have complied with the county's "Good Neighbor " policy. This policy states that being a good neighbor you will not build a confinement within one-half mile of your neighbors dwelling without a signed waiver. However, the "Good Neighbor" policy is not part of the DNR's Master Matrix; therefore, some confinements are being built without a thought to people who live within the one-half mile radius.

Most people might not think this is a big deal, but does anyone know how many hogs are in the state of Iowa or in Palo Alto County?

According to reports by Iowa Farm Bureau a corporate insurance giant that lobbies in favor of hog confinements there are approximately 22,000,000 hogs in our state. When the DNR was asked if they know the number of hogs in Iowa, staff indicated that they rely on Iowa Farm Bureau to maintain those numbers. Does no one see a problem with this?

According to Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, they have found that the number of hogs in Iowa could be as many as 30,000,000. This discrepancy of 8,000,000 hogs could also mean tens of millions of gallons of liquid manure that is currently unaccounted for. I'm not sure about the rest of my fellow Palo Alto Countians, but I find this very disturbing so I began looking at numbers within our county.

Did you know that at any one given time there are 850,000 head of hogs in our county? Using census records from 2010, this means that on any day, the ratio of hogs to people is about 106:1. Think about it, 106 hogs to one person and our County Representatives just keep approving permits to build more. No one challenges the approvals made by the DNR. It's just accepted, and life goes on. Something has got to change.

I began looking at the DNR records and have discovered some extremely disturbing figures within Palo Alto County and the surrounding four counties. Clay County has 107 hog confinements, Emmet County has 95 hog confinements, Kossuth County (which is a double county) has 240 hog confinements, Pocahontas County (which is like Palo Alto County) has 109 hog confinements and Palo Alto County has 219 hog confinements although this could be as high as 227.

I have heard that Palo Alto County has prime land to build these confinements on but what happened to the prime farmland that these building sit on? Also, what about the conditions? Animal rights activists call for free range chicken, but do they look at the cramped, filthy living conditions of these factory hog confinements? Shouldn't they be calling for free range hogs?

I only know how I feel about more and more hog confinements within our county and I say "Enough is Enough."



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