Letters to the Editor

Johnson County rules threaten family farms

As a 4th generation farmer raising grain and cattle in Johnson County, I know there is a lot of support for agriculture in Eastern Iowa. In fact, I see it almost every time I stop in town to get gas or take my family out to supper. It’s emblazoned on black and gold shirts: America Needs Farmers.

Johnson County needs farmers, too, and right now proposed regulations by the Johnson County Board of Supervisors are threatening family farms. The proposals add extra hurdles for beginning farmers and farms like mine that want to expand to provide opportunity for sons, daughters and even grandchildren to someday farm. And these proposals don’t just affect livestock farmers like me, but good people I know who raise fruits and vegetables on their small farms.

For the past year, Johnson County farmers have banded together to say these extra regulations aren’t right, like limiting how many animals we can have on one acre or having to jump through hoops to prove you are a farmer if you own less than 40 acres.

We need people who believe “America Needs Farmers” to step up and say so. I would encourage you to call or email our supervisors or come to a public hearing on December 5 at the Johnson County Public Health building at 855 S Dubuque St. in Iowa City to voice your support for agriculture in our county. The agricultural community in Johnson County needs your support now more than ever.

Steve Swenka

Tiffin

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