Dear Mr. Editor,
I am unclear on some facts and in need of some clarification from one of the local candidates for elected office that have opened themselves up for public vetting.
It is my understanding that Dan Anderson, Democratic Candidate for 3rd District supervisor, has publicly stated (at the Farm Bureau Meet The Candidates) that he feels the government does not have enough rules and regulations on small businesses, particularly agribusiness, particularly pork production. It is also my understanding that he feels he could do a better job regulating them than the DNR or the Iowa Legislature does, especially the local pork producers in his area which he is personally upset at. I understand these confinements are built on land that his father once owned and brother once owned, but is no longer in the Anderson Family, yet as he concedes are in perfect compliance with the many federal and state laws.
I could see how that might clout one's judgment, and I must ask the question if there is a conflict of interest or if emotions are too much of a factor in his decision making.
I would also pose the question as to whether or not he feels the cattle industry needs more regulations heaped upon it. I personally do not feel that the government needs to grow any larger and that they certainly don't need to write more laws for small businesses to have to contend with, but then again, I am not running for public office, so my personal views have nothing to do with anything. Meanwhile, the candidate's personal opinions and views are of the utmost importance.
It is my understanding that Mr. Anderson has cattle, but currently has no hogs. I also have seen his cattle running in open feedlots within a stone's throw from his backdoor, actually his single strand electric wire is not three foot from the side of the public road. Does he feel his cattle need to be more regulated, or just his neighbors farm? Is he ever affected by the cattle beside his house that cause odor, manure and flies? I have seen him spread the manure from those feedlots onto Highly Erodible Land and never incorporate it, leaving it exposed to elements for months on end, letting it run off into the nearby creek.
I have seen a large number of his cattle running all summer on pasture that is on both sides of Richland Creek, a main tributary to the Iowa River, spending much of this hot summer right down in the water, defecating directly into the running water, stirring up silt, and wearing away on the fragile creek banks, heading straight for the Iowa River. Mr. Anderson, do you feel that needs more regulation? Do you feel you are unbiased enough to regulate it?
As a board member for Poweshiek Water Association and a former board member of the Tama County FSA County committee would you say it is acceptable to treat the land and water in such a manner? It is my understanding your neighbors inject every bit of their pig manure into the ground, and normally incorporate it immediately, just like the city of Tama does with its own sludge from its waste water treatment plant. Not a bit of Tama's sludge gets to a water source, yet your cattle are wallowing in major waterways on a daily basis, adding more contaminants and pollution to the water in a week than a hog confinement or the entire city of Tama does in a year.
Could you please tell us EXACTLY what new regulations you want to impose on livestock producers on the local level? Could you elaborate how you feel the DNR, EPA, Iowa Assembly, and USDA are insufficient? Would you cast a broad net or just target the producers you don't like?
I only ask these questions because of your responses to the question that was posed during the 'Meet the Candidates' forum, I am not bringing the subject up, only seeking clarification. I am not seeking public office, so my opinions are not up for vetting but I would close on one statement:
Beef, pork, soybean or corn production needs no more rules or regulations. It's tough enough as it is and there are very few young men and women staying on the farm the way it is now, instead many sons, daughters, and young men and women are opting to leave the farm and maintain town jobs, I see no reason to make it harder on the next generation of young families who actually stay on the farm, just trying to adapt to 21st century farming.
I don't advocate for more rules on cattle in running water because I don't advocate for bigger government in any form, especially local government that is easily corruptible by biased individuals (people capable of carrying grudges) and only have a small handfull in charge. If there is a need for more regulation, it will come from the legislature where a large number of people who are very qualified can debate it on the state level, from those who know the value of Iowa agriculture and those who know the value of young farmers and small tax-paying, family- supporting businesses.
Running a campaign on the basis of larger government would not be the way I would do it, but I especially would not open the can of worms calling for more regulation on certain parts of agriculture but not your own.
Submitted only as a curious citizen,