Cedar Rapids state representative trying again to block new large-scale farms

DES MOINES — Democrat State Representative Art Staed of Cedar Rapids is trying again on legislation to establish an immediate moratorium on the expansion of factory farming in the state.

“My bill will help stymie corporate ag’s predatory growth in our state, confront our water quality crisis, and rectify the unfair treatment of contract growers,” Staed says. This year marks the fifth that Iowa legislators and advocates have collaborated to try and pass the bill.

Staed admits with the House controlled by Republicans, it won’t be easy to get it going. “In the House they’ve ignored this in the past. We’ll see what happens this year,” he says. “We’ve had difficulty getting any Republican signatures to be honest — but we do have quite a few House members who are interested in it.”

He would like to just see it get a hearing in the House. “There are legislators in both parties who are very interested in doing something about this, taking action,” according to Staed, “for whatever reason aren’t willing to come forward at this time until they see greater movement or at least a subcommittee hearing where we can have the public involved and others come and speak.”

Staed says there are more than 10,000 factory farms with anywhere from 300-500 new facilities added to the state each year.