Iowa Facts

  • There are 18 times more chickens on factory farms than people in Iowa.
  • The number of factory farmed hogs in Iowa grew 75 percent to 17.9 million between 1997 and 2007.
  • The size of average Iowa egg factory farms nearly tripled to nearly 1.3 million hens between 1997 and 2007.
  • In 2008, a leaky hose on a Blairstown, Iowa dairy allowed 5,000 gallons of manure to discharge to a local waterway.
  • In 2009, 25,000 gallons of manure released over a field from a Mitchell County sow operation and killed 150,000 fish over four miles of a local stream.
  • The nearly 7.7 million egg-laying hens on factory farms in Sioux County, Iowa produce as much untreated manure as the sewage from the Seattle metro area.
  • In 2009, 25,000 gallons of manure released over a farm field at a Mitchell County, Iowa sow operation killed 150,000 fish over four miles of a local stream.
  • The nearly 733,000 hogs on factory farms in Plymouth County, Iowa produce twice as much untreated manure as the sewage from the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.
  • The more than 190,000 beef cattle on industrial feedlots in Sioux County, Iowa produce as much untreated manure as the sewage from the New York City metro area.
  • The more than 857,000 hogs on factory farms in Hardin County, Iowa produce three times as much untreated manure as the sewage from the greater Atlanta metro area.
  • The more than 1 million hogs on factory farms in Sioux County, Iowa produce as much untreated manure as the sewage from the Los Angeles and Atlanta metro areas combined.
  • The more than 3.8 million egg-laying hens on factory farms in Winneshiek County, Iowa produce as much untreated manure as the sewage from the San Jose, California metro area.
  • In 2007, a Clark County, Iowa hog operation released at least 10,000 gallons of manure into a local creek, where heightened ammonia levels were detected for four miles downstream.
  • The 2008 spring floods destroyed at least 3 hog factory farms near Oakville, drowned up to 1,500 hogs and flooded manure from storage pits downstream into waterways throughout eastern Iowa.
  • In 2009, manure from a 900-head Carroll County, Iowa cattle feedlot overflowed the operation’s manure controls and entered a tributary of the Raccoon River, which provides water to Des Moines.
  • In 2010, a Sioux County, Iowa 1,200-head dairy paid a $26,288 civil penalty to settle allegations that it discharged manure waste that flowed a quarter mile into a local waterway without a permit.
  • In 2009, a 4,600-head Sioux County, Iowa cattle operation agreed to pay $25,000 to settle allegations that it violated the Clean Water Act by allowing manure and wastewater to run off into tributaries of the Floyd River.
  • In 2009, a Washington County, Iowa hog operation spilled an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 gallons of manure when a applicator was left unattended and sprayed into a channel that fed a tributary of the Indian Creek, killing fish.
  • In 2010, a large dairy, cattle and hog operation agreed to settle alleged water pollution violations for $60,0000 for incidents in 2005, 2008 and 2009 that included allowing manure to enter the Turkey River and Chialk Creek.
  • In 2008, 5,000 gallons of hog manure flowed into Iowa’s Volga River when a hose designed to transport manure to fields decoupled from its connector. The manure traveled one mile downstream and caused a fish kill of unknown size.
  • In 2007, manure seeped from a broken pipe on a 20,000-head Harrison County hog operation into a local creek and killed fish. Manure foam was visible on the creek three miles from the spill and ammonia levels were nearly 10 times the levels that kill fish.
  • The 17.9 million hogs, 1.2 million beef cattle, 52.4 million egg-laying hens, 1 million broiler chickens and 64,500 dairy cows on factory farms in Iowa produce as much untreated manure as the sewage from 471 million people — more than the entire U.S. population.
  • In 2010, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources investigated a 3,000-gallon hog manure spill in Hardin County that was possibly caused by a frozen pipe that reached the South Beaver Creek, which had heightened levels of ammonia and dead minnows for over six-miles.
  • In 2010, the EPA filed civil enforcement actions against 3 beef feedlots in Sioux and Mills counties to prevent unauthorized discharges of manure into local waterways. One of the feedlots agreed to pay a $31,573 fine for its unauthorized manure discharge into Mills County waterways.
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