On Wednesday, Dec. 13, the Hardin County Board of Supervisors voted to delay a decision on an Iowa Select factory farm expansion just a few miles SE of Eldora. Hardin County residents said it was the biggest Supervisor meeting Hardin County has seen in years.
There were about 30 people who showed up in opposition to Iowa Select’s factory farm. Seventeen people testified against that expansion and only 1 person testified for the expansion.
“We want the Hardin County Supervisors to represent us, not Iowa Select. We voted them in and we can vote them out. We already have 246 factory farms in our county. We don’t want any more”, said Nick Schutt, CCI member and family farmer in Hardin County.
The testimonies covered a range of topics, including air, water and quality of life pollution, property value loss, loss of the family farmer, lost tax revenue, destruction of historical places, and destruction of county values and vision. You can watch the hearing here.
“Nobody’s desire for economic gain should take away our right to happiness”, said CCI member and Hardin County family farmer, Keith Kuper.
One of the big discrepancies CCI members point to in the application is how Iowa Select is measuring the distance from the nearest neighbor’s home. Donna and Bob Juber purchased a historic Victorian home that was used in the Steven Spielberg film, “Twister”. Shortly after purchasing the home, Iowa Select built a 2,490 head factory farm just 1,665 feet from their home. Iowa Select is measuring the seperation distance from the nearest corner of the Juber’s home to the nearest corner of the new building – even though the existing building is closer and under the required separation distance of 1,875 feet.
“If both buildings were built at the same time, the construction would not be allowed because this would be less than 1,875 feet. If the building furthest away were built first then the building closest were built next, this would not be allowed because this would be less than 1,875 feet. But in this case, if the closest building were built first, wait a few years, then they are saying it’s okay to build the second building because the second building is farther than 1,875 feet. The first two examples are not allowed but the last one is, even if though the results are exactly the same”, testified Bob Havens, resident of Hardin County.
Iowa Select has submitted 20 applications in 9 counties to build more or expand existing factory farms, increasing the amount of manure in Iowa by nearly 36 million gallons annually. So far, Webster and Humboldt have recommended denial of the Iowa Select applications in their counties. CCI members call on Hardin County to do the same.
The Hardin County Supervisors will vote on the expansion on Wednesday, December 27 at 10am.