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Cerro Gordo supervisors approve resolution to re‐visit state’s Master Matrix for animal confinements

This news story was published on April 18, 2017.
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MASON CITY – Today, the Cerro Gordo supervisors approved a resolution to re‐visit the state’s Master Matrix for animal confinements.

Animal confinements – sometimes called CAFO’s – refer to a wide range operations typically in a rural setting where animals are bred, confined, fed and then usually shipped for processing. Here in Cerro Gordo county, the hot-button topic has mainly revolved around hog confinements. During the Prestage Foods debate, many area citizens fretted that the massive hog killing facility would usher in countless hog confinements to the Mason City / Clear Lake area they felt would sour the air, water and soil. Proponents say that Iowa is an agricultural state and it comes with the territory.

In Iowa, CAFO’s are governed by the state’s “master matrix” formula, that allows the local counties and the Iowa DNR to attempt to regulate these operations.

Tuesday, the Cerro Gordo county board of supervisors unanimously adopted a resolution asking Governor Branstad and the state legislature to revisit the Master Matrix. In a broad sense, Democrats tend to favor a revisit of the matrix rules with possible changes, while Republicans tend to avoid the issue.

Administrative Officer Tom Drzycimski tells NIT that “the resolution states that the reports provided by the county to the DNR on proposed confinement construction raise, ‘…concerns about CAFO construction, including impacts on drainage district facilities, road infrastructure, small communities and rural residential development, state and county conservation areas, floodplains, Clear Lake, rivers, creeks, and waterways.’

“In the resolution, the Board conveys its belief that it is time for the provisions of the master matrix to be revisited to assure that current environmental concerns are being met.”

Supervisor Casey Callanan

Supervisor Casey Callanan told NIT Tuesday after the vote:

“I voted today to join with the other two Cerro Gordo county Supervisors to ask the State to revisit the Master Matrix (which was adopted in 2002 under Governor Vilsack with bipartisan support). This was going to pass regardless of how I voted. However, this non-binding resolution will have no beneficial impact whatsoever. Solutions (in government) are best addressed in working with all parties involved which is why I hope to work with our state association, legislature, and constituents to come up with a reasonable solution. I have been in contact with Speaker Linda Upmeyer who fully appreciates people’s concerns and is sympathetic to them.”

Supervisor Tim Latham told NIT that the matrix “has a lot of loopholes… I definitely  support looking at the matrix.  Bottomline, the farmer has rights, the landowner has rights … most people don’t understand, the supervisors’ hands are tied.”

Currently in the Cerro Gordo area, the latest craze in connection to the CAFO issue is a new chicken confinement being built north Iowa Mason City, past 300th Street west of Highway 65.  Neighbors in the area are trying to rally to stop the operation, but the matrix favors the proprietor, and the 98,000 chicken confinement will likely get built soon.  NIT is told the chickens will supply a chicken plant in Charles City.

Cerro Gordo county is the 11th county in Iowa to pass a resolution of this kind.


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7 Responses to Cerro Gordo supervisors approve resolution to re‐visit state’s Master Matrix for animal confinements

  1. Avatar

    How I see it Reply Report comment

    April 20, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Supervisor Casey Callanan response was such a political bunch of nonsense that it is clear to me he is in bed with the corporate farmers and could care less if big hog lots and large manure pits hurt the land, water, or their neighbors.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      April 20, 2017 at 7:45 am

      That should be “couldn’t care less”

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      April 20, 2017 at 9:20 pm

      Supervisor Callahan is more in tune with the issue than you know. Personally spoke with him and he conveyed to me that the water issues are not caused by livestock growing facilities. There is a more direct reason for the problems. I’d tell you more but it is more beneficial if you do some research on your own (i.e. try researching the subject with an open mind instead of an ignorant one).

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 19, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    This is a great example of why mason city will never be successful again. Chicken factories and confinements smell too much like chicken, tire plants… Well they smell like yucky tires. Casinos? Ya, they’ll prolly bring lots of criminals to town. Pork plants? Darn immigrants and criminals too. Let’s revitalize downtown with old history and maybe we can put a record store in there with a soda shop next to it. Maybe we could get a candle factory or nice safe cotton ball mftr in town too. Quick somebody call Blockbuster Video, that’ll be sure to bring business to this town. Ever look around and think how much this one horse town looks just like it did in the ’80’s with a few extra crappy metal “art” displays plastered in it (aka lipstick on a pig)?

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 19, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Could it be these large corporate farms _more than a few foreign owned want more power ?

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 18, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    More than a FEW people cannot drink their well water in Iowa because of animal waste pollution – this pollution can kill you over time -even eating the fish out of some of our rivers is harmful. Big corporations usually run the show and tell the elected officials how they would like it done and maybe there will be some $$$$$s to spare. Bring it to a vote if necessary and just say NO if necessary – why not put the chicken farm in Charles City by the processing plant – to close to the river which already contains manure runoff from farms in Mitchell county – home of old supervisor Walk – would not trust him as far as I could throw a 100 bag of pig shit.

  5. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 18, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    If the government wants to do it right, all properties that have animals residing on said property,regardless of the number of animals, should have to file a manure and environmental plan with authorities. Small producers are also polluters to the environment. Just look at how they place the manure in huge piles all winter long exposed to the weather and allowed to leach into the waterways in the Spring as the snow melts and rain showers take place before it is disposed of.