July 19, 2007 - Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement

Let me begin by clearly stating the name of the organization that is the subject of this week’s Samuelson Sez. It is an organization based in Des Moines, Iowa and the name is Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement. Let me repeat, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement.

Why are they the subject of this week’s Samuelson Sez? Well, let’s go back to Saturday morning, July 14th, about 9:00AM, when 150 members and supporters traveled in four buses to a residential area in West Des Moines, Iowa and stopped in front of the home of Aaron Putze who is Executive Director of the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers; a non-partisan, not-for-profit coalition that supports the growth of family livestock farms in the state.

After they arrived, they rang the doorbell, tapped on windows and then went into the back yard of the home and left fliers criticizing livestock farming and the Coalition. They chanted, “Aaron, Aaron, come on out, see what Iowa is all about”. Then they fanned out across the neighborhood, waving billboards, using loud speakers, handing out fliers; voicing their displeasure about the resurgence of Iowa’s hog, dairy, cattle and poultry farms. Remember, it’s a Saturday morning and this organization is for Community Improvement.

The President of the group has stated on TV that livestock farming is a form of "terrorism"; and the Executive Director, when asked if he had personally visited a livestock farm said "No, I’ve never been inside a livestock facility, but I’ve driven by them."

Neighbors of the Putze’s were not at all amused. One said "They say they are for being good neighbors, and yet they trespass on private property, and use loudspeakers to blare their protests on a Saturday morning, to unsuspecting residents all of whom support livestock."

There are some lessons to be learned here. First of all, 190,000 people in Iowa make their living off agriculture, including animal agriculture and I’m sure the protestors would not be willing to support these people and their families if they put them out of business. Number two: the job of educating non-farm people about what agriculture needs to do to put food on their table is a never-ending job. Number three: to consumers who get involved in these protests, do it long enough and loud enough and all of our food will be produced overseas. Isn’t that a nice thought with the recent concerns we have had with food imports from China.

Finally, I would suggest to the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement that they get a good dose of common sense, re-define “community improvement” and stop biting the hand that feeds them .

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