May 18, 2024

Pigs outnumber Iowans 7-1

Did you know pigs in Iowa outnumber Iowans 7 to 1 and produce the amount of excrement of 84 million people? (One pig produces 3.5 times as much solid waste as a human.) That’s A LOT of poo!

One of Iowa’s largest hog operations is Iowa Select Farms. Since its founding in 1992, Iowa’s pig population has grown more than 50% while the number of hog farms has plummeted by 80%. Today, two-thirds of Iowa hogs are grown on contract with big meatpackers — so much for competitive hog markets and family farms.

In 2020, the Iowa DNR reported that 61% of Iowa’s rivers and streams and 67% of its lakes and reservoirs don’t meet basic water quality standards. Can you guess the only state facing growing cancer rates? Yep, and that’s not the only health risk Iowans face. Nitrate exposure is linked to birth defects, low IQ from preterm births, disability, and more.

No worries though, our poop producers will ensure that our water is not…well…poopy, right? Sadly, Iowans will spend up to $333 million on nitrogen removal in drinking water systems in the next five years. And rural Iowans and smaller towns will suffer the most. (How’s your well doing?)Now don’t you worry, our factory farmers will be fine. They don’t live downwind from the shed or depend on rural water to drink. They’re living high on the hog, and our Iowa legislators will do the dirty work of providing Iowans with clean water.

Look at Senate File 2370. It permanently prohibits the DNR from strengthening Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) regulations to protect water quality and public health. It only benefits factory farms. But don’t despair! We can depend on our House members to stand up to these poo-lluters, right? LOL.

What we can do is elect less poopy representatives, ones who actually put clean water and your health above their big dollar donors. Why should Iowans be left holding the poop lagoon…I mean…bag?