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Environmental groups demand hearing on cattle farm near trout stream

By: - May 10, 2021 5:24 pm

Bloody Run Creek in Clayton County is a trout stream with special protection from the state. (Photo courtesy of Larry Stone)

Environmentalists have filed a petition demanding a state hearing on the decision to allow a large cattle operation near a northeast Iowa trout stream.

The Sierra Club Iowa Chapter, Iowa Environmental Council and conservationists Steve Veysey and Larry Stone requested the hearing regarding Supreme Beef’s plans for 11,600 cattle near Monona, close to Bloody Run Creek. The stream has a special state designation because of its high water quality.

The hearing, if approved, would be before the governor-appointed Iowa Environmental Protection Commission

The petitioners accuse the Iowa Department of Natural Resources of multiple errors in calculating how much manure could be safely spread in the area. About 100 people submitted comments opposing the development.

The case also made news because Supreme Beef co-principal Jared Walz appealed to his father-in-law, Sen. Dan Zumbach, R-Ryan, to help him with the permit. Zumbach, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said he called DNR Director Kayla Lyon to ask about the requirements, as he would have for any other constituent. (Lyon was appointed by GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds.)

Also involved in the project is Becky Sexton, wife of Rep. Mike Sexton, R-Rockwell City, who has served on the Iowa Cattlemen’s Association board. The Sextons own Twin Lakes Environmental Services, which was working on the proposal. 

There was no immediate word from DNR on a potential hearing.

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Perry Beeman
Perry Beeman

Senior reporter Perry Beeman has nearly 40 years of experience in Iowa journalism and has won national awards for environmental and business writing. He has written for The Des Moines Register and the Business Record, where he also served as managing editor. He also is former editorial director of Grinnell College. He co-authored the recently published book, "The $80 Billion Gamble," which details the lottery-rigging case of Eddie Tipton.