Extension's Rapid Response to Environmental Public Policy        

Beth Doran, Northwest Iowa Beef Field Specialist

Problem

In early September, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) published a notice of intended action to amend Iowa Administrative Code Chapters 60, 63, 64 and 65.  The purpose of amendments was to align Iowa's regulation of "confined animal feeding operations" to amended regulations adopted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  This change would bring an estimated 1800 Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO's) into regulation under the NPDES program.  IDNR stated that the proposal would have little, if any, adverse impact, financial or otherwise, on the livestock industry.  It was imperative that the public be informed about the proposed amendments and have an opportunity to provide input into the formation of environmental rules and regulations.        

Response

The IDNR scheduled five hearings across Iowa to allow the public to respond to the proposed environmental policy.  In July, IDNR contacted Carol Schneider, Plymouth CEED, to schedule the Plymouth County Extension Office in LeMars.  However, after discovering the purpose of the meeting and the potential for a large group, Carol and Joel DeJong, Extension Crops Field Specialist, worked to relocate the meeting at the LeMars Convention Center. 

ISU Extension staff in northwest Iowa worked quickly, within a two week period, to publicize the hearing.  A news article announcing the hearing was released to the newspapers in ten northwestern Iowa counties.  Radio tapes were cut with three radio stations.  Both Carol and Joel were instrumental in inviting key livestock producers from Plymouth County.  Chris Mondak, Extension Dairy Field Specialist, recruited northwest Iowa dairy producers to be present.  Beth Doran, Extension Beef Field Specialist, worked with the presidents of the Sioux and Lyon County beef and pork producers to distribute information about the content, date, and location of the hearing.  Three commodity groups--the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, the Iowa Pork Producers Association, and the Iowa Farm Bureau--also distributed news and information concerning the public hearing.

Impact

The LeMars Convention Center was filled to capacity with 60 producers and agrip-business professionals from throughout northwestern Iowa!  Testimony was received from two agri-business staff and ten livestock producers.  Two producers, and perhaps more, submitted written comments to the IDNR. 

Field Specialists Joel DeJong, Beth Doran, and Kris Kohl, Extension Ag Engineer Field Specialist, publicly commented on the proposed rules.  One producer, Marvin Maasen, publicly stated how helpful Kris Kohl had been to him in interpreting and working through environmental regulations on his dairy operation.  This same producer spoke favorably about service provided by ISU and dairy Extension.

A very significant thing happened at the hearing.  This group had the opportunity to meet and interact with Kathryn Murphy, board member on the Iowa Environmental Protection Commission (EPC).  Kathryn, personally noting the testimony and public comments, took these to the EPC at their December meeting.  Noting the strong response, the EPC extended their consideration and review of the comments.  The EPC's ruling will probably not be public until February.          

Dec. 12, 2004
150 - Environmental Stewardship

Page last updated: July 6, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu