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MASON CITY — The Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors this morning unanimously approved a resolution asking that state officials revisit the “Master Matrix” system that scores potential animal feeding operations. A handful of counties have passed similar resolutions asking for changes in the master matrix as environmental groups have lobbied for tougher standards and more local control.
Supervisor Tim Latham says the scoring system needs to be re-done. He says, “I believe it’s time for the governor and the legislators to look at it. It needs to be adjusted, it hasn’t been looked for many years. But I also want to go on record that I support agriculture because it is a big part of our county and our state.”
Supervisor Chris Watts says the state is way overdue in revisiting this issue. He says, “This isn’t about ag, this is about the good neighbor policy. There are ten other counties in the state right now that have asked for the governor and the legislature to revisit the master matrix, and it’s past time that they do it. Hopefully with Cerro Gordo County stepping up we can get something done.”
The 44-question survey is used in 88 of Iowa’s 99 counties to evaluate the siting of permitted confinement feeding operations. Producers in counties that have adopted the matrix must meet higher standards than other permitted facilities. The applicants must earn points on the matrix for choosing sites and using practices that reduce adverse impacts on the environment and the community, with producers having 50-percent of the total score and at least 25-percent of the available points in each of the three subcategories of air, water, and community impacts to pass.