The nonprofit Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement is vowing to watch Iowa livestock farmers' manure spreading closely this winter, according to the Des Moines Register.

"We have 3,300 sets of eyes across the state," said rural community organizer David Goodner, referring to the group's membership. "We are putting the industry on notice that we will be watching."

Livestock industry lawyer Eldon McAfee said the state is already watching, because farmers have to notify the Iowa Department of Natural Resources before making the emergency applications.

The issue has been a volatile one in Iowa. Environmentalists and some regulators wanted to ban farmers from spreading manure on frozen or snow-covered ground. A state panel moved to do that, and new rules take effect today.

However, some farmers said they don't have enough storage to get through the winter. Sometimes they have to spread manure after torrential rains fill storage unexpectedly. Adding storage can be expensive. So the state decided to let farmers continue emergency applications, with approval, over the next five years.

That's where the citizens' group — which opposes livestock confinements and wants the state to allow local control of them — comes in. It has fought to prevent winter spreading of the wastes because the frozen conditions can lead to runoff.

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Source: Des Moines Register