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Branstad signs bill limiting livestock nuisance lawsuits

Iowa cow

DES MOINES – Iowa Governor Terry Branstad today signed a bill that puts a cap on the damages livestock producers would face in nuisance lawsuits.

Iowa lawmakers passed Senate File 447, agreeing that important public interests are advanced by preserving and encouraging the expansion of responsible animal agricultural production in this state which provides employment opportunities in and economic growth for rural Iowa, contributes tax revenues to the state and to local communities, and protects our valuable natural resources.

The bill states that the purpose of the legislation is to encourage persons involved in animal agriculture to adopt existing prudent and generally utilized management practices for their animal feeding operations, thereby enhancing the fundamental role of nimal agriculture in this state by providing a reasonable level of protection to persons engaged in animal agricultural production from certain types of nuisance actions.

A nuisance from a livestock producer could range from sound pollution, smell, air pollution, water pollution, etc.  Financial damages would be limited under the bill.  “Big ag” has come under fire across the state as water quality allegedly dwindles.  Citizens have become more vocal over water concerns, as well.

Bill Northey

This year, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey expounded on the virtues of animal livestock and agriculture in Iowa, saying “animal agriculture continues to be a driving force in our state’s economy … we continue to lead the nation in the production of pork and eggs and also have very important beef, dairy and turkey production. It has been a challenges (sic) time economically for many of our livestock farmers, but thanks for all your hard work helps make sure Iowa remains a great place to raise livestock.”

The bill passed the Iowa Senate on March 14, 31-18 and the Iowa House on March 22, 60-39.

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