Iowa Select Farms, based in Iowa Falls, Iowa, has plans of adding 19 new hog confinements for their 90,000-head expansion. The new facilities would be in eight counties, including Hamilton, Dallas, Webster, Wright, Humboldt, Franklin, Palo Alto and Bremer.
The company already employs 1,200 people and works with 650 contractors. The expansion is a chance for new employment.
Jess Mazour, a farm and environmental organizer with Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI), told Iowa Radio that the group’s members are none too happy with the proposed facilities. The group has heard from citizens via social media that they are concerned about the expansion from an environmental standpoint.
She explained that the confinement expansion adds to the fears already brought on to committee members and citizens of Iowa by the Iowa water crisis. “This is an additional 36.7-million gallons of untreated manure that’s going to be spread onto our land and run off into our water,” Mazour added in her talk with Iowa Radio.
A USDA report recently stated pig production is estimated to increase by 4 percent in 2018.
Jen Sorensen, a spokeswoman for Iowa Select Farms, told the radio station that she disputes claims from Iowa CCI about manure spills at Iowa Select Farms. Sorensen added that the company works diligently with its environmental service team to ensure they’re not harming the environment.
“We have had very few issues with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources since we began operations. None of these claimed releases or spills are accurate at all,” she told Iowa Radio.
A USDA report recently stated pig production is estimated to increase by 4 percent in 2018. It is likely that other Iowa hog producers may also expand in total head count. Iowa leads the nation in pork production. There are currently two packing facilities being built in the state as well.
"The industry is growing to offset the losses felt by grain farmers — diversifying with livestock strengthens the farming income, and grain farmers recognize the value of manure to their bottom line," Iowa Select said in a statement to the Des Moines Register.