KEEPING WATCH - CAFOS CLOSING IN
MT. PLEASANT — With Mt. Pleasant related residential construction having expanded to the west and Confined Animal Feeding OperationS moving to the southeast out of the Wayland area it was just a matter of time until they met. Now out on Franklin Ave the question of just how close the CAFOs can get without offending the neighbors has been answered by a group of country loving folks who think of the Iowa outdoors in terms of fresh air not the toxic fragrance of manure pits. What is the smell of money for a few is the smell of declining property values and the quality of life for many others.
Industry used to be pegged as the big offenders of air and water quality but those days are gone now along with the A frame farrowing houses that used to dot the hog pastures and the open air turkey roosts that sat in the hay fields. Agriculture has become an industry but it is still being managed much like a Mom and Pop operation. What with careful site selection, adequate odor abatement technology, air quality monitoring and knifed in sludge/manure applications the confinement operations might even become neighbor friendly. However, the costs of such practices is apparently higher than court costs, at least for the moment, but it sounds like that might be changing. The neighbors are getting organized, talking to receptive lawyers and expecting the long term defense of the quality of country living within quick driving distance to Mt. Pleasant jobs on and along hard surface roads to become the new normal.
A map of the distribution of CAFOs in Iowa shows the northwest part of the state is nearly covered up with confinement operations in what then becomes a pox spreading across the state toward the south east. How many confinement operations might "fit" between Mt. Pleasant and Westwood is the evolving question and the folks along Franklin west of Mt. Pleasant have already taken a whiff of such a future and just said No.