Floyd County adopts moratorium
Resolution passed unanimously
By Jean Caspers-Simmet
CHARLES CITY, Iowa -- Floyd County last week became the latest county to enact a one-year moratorium on new construction for the production, care, feeding or housing of livestock.
"The state has not come across with anything to help the hog situation,'' said Arlin Enabnit, board chairman, in a telephone interview.
The resolution for the moratorium came as a recommendation from the Floyd County Board of Health. The supervisors, all farmers, passed the resolution unanimously.
"Our intent isn't to prevent local farmers from building livestock operations,'' Enabnit said.
The resolution contains a variance provision. Anyone wanting to build can seek permission from the Board of Health and the Board of Supervisors.
"We want to be in a little better position to prevent problems with water and air emissions,'' Enabnit said.
About 50 people attended the meeting, Enabnit said. People on both sides of the issue spoke during an hourlong discussion.
Supervisors realize that the moratorium could be challenged in court, Enabnit said.
If the state comes out with legislation that gives county supervisors some say in where livestock confinements are located, they can withdraw the moratorium resolution.
Cerro Gordo County enacted a moratorium in March. Franklin County enacted a moratorium a week later, but rescinded it. Supervisors there are working with the health board and will likely reinstate the moratorium, Enabnit said. Butler, Hancock and Chickasaw counties are discussing moratoriums. Several southern Iowa counties have also passed moratoriums.
Floyd County supervisors want to have input in fighting large hog confinements because the county has the second-largest number of ag drainage wells in the state and also has a number of sinkholes, Enabnit said.
"We think we can look after the county better than just going by statewide rules,'' Enabnit said.
Maurice Johnson, a Floyd hog producer and president of the county Farm Bureau, said that while he doesn't agree with the supervisors' action, he understands it.
"Counties have been put into a corner, and the state isn't coming up with any guidelines,'' Johnson said. "The counties are doing what they have to do to limit the buildings going in.''
Johnson believes Iowa law prevents counties from regulating livestock.
"I think a moratorium is illegal, and the county is in jeopardy of being taken to court,'' Johnson said. "I think the counties are hoping that this will push the state to come up with a workable solution.''
A hearing on the ordinance is scheduled for May 14.