This paper examines county level decision-making regarding swine confinement permits in Iowa. The case study follows a 2003 Iowa State Legislature ruling that gives county supervisors the option to adopt a detailed Department of Natural Resources Master Matrix plan for swine manure management. In this research, I sought to understand environmental policy conflicts associated with industrialized hog production. This study examines four counties in North Central Iowa located in the region of rapidly expanding, corporate-formed, swine confinement operations. Ethnographic field research was conducted from May 2003 to October 2006. Comparison of qualitative and quantitative data for each of these four counties reveals different stakeholder and agroecology dynamics at the level of county decision-making processes. I explain these differences in terms of a family farm-corporate agribusiness continuum which reflects diverse local agricultural attitudes and practices related to environmental values, economic rationales and social investments. In some rural areas where family farm agricultural attitudes and practices related to livestock production persist along side of corporate agribusiness, there exist some county assessors, engineers, and auditors who seek to protect family farm social and cultural interests because of their stabilizing effect on the local environment and economy. This study explains why local county-level decision-makers have become proactive in supporting family farms and local businesses by challenging state policies biased in favor of corporate agribusiness.
Dilly, Barbara J.. "Tax Policy and Swine Production in Iowa, United States." Journal of Ecological Anthropology 10, no. 1 (2006): 45-60.
Available at: http://scholarcommons.usf.edu/jea/vol10/iss1/4