Thursday, May 20, 2004

Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers“Growing Communities…One Farmer at a Time”
Contact: Aaron Putze, APR
515-225-5414 - cell 515-975-4168
aputze@supportiowasfarmers.org
www.supportiowasfarmers.org

EIP REPORT IGNORES THE FACTS AND DOES A DISSERVICE TO IOWA FARM FAMILIES THAT RAISE LIVESTOCK

WEST DES MOINES, IA – May 20, 2004 – Information released May 19 by the Washington D.C.-based Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) critical of Iowa’s livestock farmers ignores the facts and twists reality. It also does a disservice to the vast majority of farm families that care for their families, neighbors, communities and environment, according to the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF).

CSIF is a not-for-profit group formed to help families stay viable on the farm and in their communities by assisting them in managing the rules and regulations covering animal agriculture.

In EIP’s own report titled “Threatening Iowa’s Future,” the group alleged that livestock farmers put profit ahead of environmental stewardship and blamed state officials for allowing it to happen. Members of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement – including a beekeeper from southwest Iowa– joined the EIP in making claims that farm families raising livestock were not sufficiently regulated and used production practices that threatened air and water quality.

“The carelessness of EIP’s assertions makes it obvious that they are not from Iowa because they do not know how farm families live, work and raise livestock,” said Kendra Gilbert, a sixth-generation farmer from Nashua. “As a livestock producer, I do everything I can to protect the health of my family and neighbors, comply with some of the nation’s most stringent regulations and take great pride in creating jobs and economic benefits for my community.”

Gilbert said the EIP report ignored multiple rounds of regulations passed by the Iowa Legislature since 1995 covering everything from the siting and construction of animal facilities to the storage and application of animal nutrients.

For example, manure management plans filed and paid for by livestock farmers detail where and how much animal nutrients can be used and must be updated annually. Those that apply manure to cropland must be certified to operate state-of-the-art equipment that injects manure six inches underground, reducing odor and protecting water quality.

Using animal nutrients is beneficial to both the environment and the nation’s economy. Nearly 2,400 head of hogs can provide sufficient nutrients to eliminate the need for applying conventional nitrogen on 250 acres of cropland. “Livestock provides farmers with a natural fertilizer that degrades naturally and reduces our dependence on foreign sources of energy,” Gilbert said. “That’s good for farmers, good for the environment and good for Iowa.”

In their report, EIP says that pollution from livestock facilities is generating high nitrate levels in water sources.

Not true, according to Randy Pleima. As general manager of Mahaska Rural Water Systems Inc., Pleima monitors the quality of the water he distributes. Since 1996, nitrate levels have dropped from 1.5 parts per million to .2 (EPA suggests 10 ppm or lower) as overall water quality has improved. Asked why, Pleima doesn’t hesitate. “I think better farming practices being used by farmers is the biggest reason,” including the construction of state-of-the-art livestock facilities and knifing animal nutrients into the ground.

The CSIF questioned the EIP’s motives. One of EIP’s most critical sources of funding is the Rockefeller Family Fund (RFF). According to the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), the RFF has assets of more than $56 million and funds dozens of organizations including those critical of specific kinds of farms and farming practices.

Recipients of RFF funding, according to the CCF, include ICCI ($30,000 in 2001) and the Environmental Working Group (nearly $400,000 in 2000-2001). And, from 1998-2000, the EIP contributed $130,000 to Waterkeeper Alliance, a group headed by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. that has rallied against livestock farmers around the nation, including Iowa, and threatened to sue farmers out of business. “We have the attorneys now who have money and they know what they’re doing,” says Kennedy. “They are the best in the country and we are going to put an end to this (pork) industry.”
“Research conducted last year found that nearly 80 percent of Iowans not directly involved in agriculture hold a positive view of animal production in the state,” said Tim Niess, CSIF Executive Director. “Farm families look forward to continuing to build upon this strong consumer support while protecting the environment and providing jobs for nearly 140,000 Iowans.”


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The CSIF was launched May 11, 2004. Its mission is to grow Iowa communities one farmer at a time. Six prominent farm groups founded the organization: Iowa Cattlemen’s Association, Iowa Corn Growers Association; Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Poultry Association and Iowa Soybean Association. For more information about the CSIF, the importance of livestock production and the truth behind activist groups operating in Iowa, log on to www.supportiowasfarmers.org.

May, 2004

Animal Agriculture: At Home in Iowa


1. Iowa’s livestock farmers contribute more than $5 billion to Iowa’s
$91 billion economy (measured in Gross State Product). That means animal agriculture is responsible for nearly 5 percent of the state’s economy.
"Economic Importance of Iowa's Cattle Industry", Dr. John Lawrence, ISU Professor, Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, 2000,
"The Economic Importance of the Iowa Pork Industry", Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, Dr. James Kliebenstein, ISU Professor, 2000.


2. Nearly 140,000 Iowans are directly and indirectly employed because of livestock production. This is equal to nearly 7 percent of the state’s workforce (1.93 million workers) and nearly the populations of Ft. Dodge, Ottumwa, Iowa City and Cedar Falls…combined!
"Economic Importance of Iowa's Cattle Industry", Dr. John Lawrence, ISU Professor, Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, 2000,
"The Economic Importance of the Iowa Pork Industry", Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, Dr. James Kliebenstein, ISU Professor, 2000.


3. The cattle and pork industry collectively provide over $3 billion in personal income to working Iowans.
"Economic Importance of Iowa's Cattle Industry", Dr. John Lawrence, ISU Professor, Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, 2000,
"The Economic Importance of the Iowa Pork Industry", Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, Dr. James Kliebenstein, ISU Professor, 2000.


4. Livestock production provides more than $77 million in county/local government revenues and more than $400 million in state government revenue resources.
"Economic Importance of Iowa's Cattle Industry", Dr. John Lawrence, ISU Professor, Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, 2000;
"The Economic Importance of the Iowa Pork Industry", Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, Dr. James Kliebenstein, ISU Professor, 2000;
Regional Economic Models, Incorporated (REMI), Version 5.2, 2003.


5. Livestock and poultry consume 33 percent of Iowa’s annual corn crop (650 million of
2 billion bushels).
1997 Census of Agriculture, USDA; Analysis conducted by Dr. John Lawrence, ISU Professor, 2003;
Analysis conducted by Dave Miller, IFBF Director of Commodities, 2003.


6. Livestock and poultry consume 26 percent of Iowa’s annual soybean crop (130 million of 500 million bushels).
1997 Census of Agriculture, USDA; Analysis conducted by Dr. John Lawrence, ISU Professor, 2003;
Analysis conducted by Dave Miller, IFBF Director of Commodities, 2003.


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7. Iowa’s pork industry supports 87,000 jobs while Iowa’s cattle industry supports 49,900 jobs.
"Economic Importance of Iowa's Cattle Industry", Dr. John Lawrence, ISU Professor, Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, 2000,
"The Economic Importance of the Iowa Pork Industry", Dr. Daniel Otto, ISU Professor, Dr. James Kliebenstein, ISU Professor, 2000.


8. There is a significant correlation between the 54 percent decline in Iowa’s cattle inventory in the last 30 years and the decline in rural k-12 school enrollment in the last 20 years.
National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS), http://www.usda.gov/nass/; "Iowa's Counties: Selected Population Trends,
Vital Statistics and Socioeconomic Data", 1990 – 2001; Microsoft Excel, Office 2000.


9. Simply doubling Iowa’s January 1 cattle on feed (from 955,000 to 1.9 million) would add $33 million to Iowa’s annual corn crop and create over 3,200 new jobs in Iowa!
National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS), http://www.usda.gov/nass/;
Regional Economic Models, Incorporated (REMI), Version 5.2, 2003





For more information, log on to www.supportiowasfarmers.org


















Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers
Growing Communities… One Farmer at a Time


1 comment:

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