Dawn’s research into state law – 1

I was listening to an interview of Paul Cienfuegos – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ObK3EWEs0hY –  and he mentioned that Iowa was one of the states that had an anti-corporate farming law.

This is what I found:


Iowa’s anti-corporate farming statute is located at Iowa Code Ann. ¤172C.5A (West 1990). Iowa recently amended its anti-corporate farming statute to ban output contract farming. Iowa Code Ann. ¤9H.4 (West 1995). The law prohibits corporations, limited liability companies, and trusts – other than family farm corporations, authorized farm corporations, family farm limited liability companies, authorized limited liability companies, family trusts, authorized trusts, revocable trusts, or testamentary trusts – from acquiring an interest in any agricultural land in the state.

The major organizational exemptions require (1) that the shareholders be related, (2) that the stockholders all be natural persons, and (3) that sixty percent of the gross revenues of the corporation over a prior three year period have been derived from farming.

Other exemptions include (1) land owned by nonprofit corporations, (2) land owned by municipal corporations, and (3) agricultural land held for research or experimental purposes. Enforcement of the Statute may be carried out by the Attorney General or the County Attorney. Penalties may be assessed up to $25,000 and the corporation forced to divest the farmland within a period of one year. Enforcement is assisted by the lengthy requirements imposed on the submission of reports which must be sent annually to the Secretary of State by contract feeders and by any corporations owning farmland in the State.

Iowa law also makes it unlawful for beef and pork processing corporations to own, control, or operate a feedlot. This section of the law proclaims that “[i]n order to preserve free and private enterprise, prevent monopoly, and protect consumers” there shall be a separation of ownership and processing corporations. See Iowa Code Ann. ¤9H.2. Violations of this portion of the statute may be assessed a penalty of up to $25,000. The Attorney General or a County Attorney may bring suits on behalf of the State to enforce the provisions of the Act.


Barbara: So why isn’t this being enforced?  I wonder.

Dawn: I think that the local farmer is used by corporations so the corps appear to be complying with the letter of the law — the corporation doesn’t actually own the CAFO or feed lot.

Tom Fiegen said he has been the attorney for farmers who have signed CAFO agreements prepared by the firm of one of Branstad’s cronies.  I’m attaching a scan of Tom’s biographic info.

I think Tom is eager to talk with the 100Grannies – we have an awesome reputation with people who know about us. Maybe we can invite him to a Democracy School session (and invite other interested Grannies and environmentalists, if desired.)  In Fairfield, he suggested that one way to fight CAFOs is to have an animal density zoning ordinance.  We could ask for specifics about that and get our questions answered about why the anti-corporate farming law isn’t keeping big ag out of animal production.

I asked him what his position is on corporate personhood and he said he thinks corporations should have the right of perpetual life and to borrow money.  I asked if he thought the Bill of Rights applied to corporations and he said no that they were for humans.

Note: Tom Fiegen is running for Senate.

I might have more to report: the Washington County Board of Supervisors has an information item about bird production on today’s meeting agenda.


Paul has a 3 hour class (sliding scale $6 – $40) that is followed by a 90 minute Q and A session.  We might want to think about viewing this as a group.

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