To the editor:

There is a lot to process in looking at the proposed locations of these Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFOs) northeast of Nevada. Having thought about it for a couple weeks now, I think Nevada will suffer if they are built.

I have several concerns, all of them are due to the proximity to Nevada. They are property values, future residential growth, water quality and health. Iowa is an agricultural state and a quick search of CAFO locations in Iowa shows a very large number, so this is nothing new. What is different is how close these are to town. A two-mile ring around the proposed sights encompasses the northeast quadrant of town. If it is extended to three miles, all Nevada schools are included.

If you live on the edge of town, you will be able to see this facility from your house. Property values on the north side of town will decrease. Some studies have shown a 20-40 percent decrease in property values, depending on proximity and other variables. The hurt that will put on hundreds of property owners in town will be huge and the downline effects of that will touch everyone in town.

This will permanently close off the north side of Nevada for future residential growth. No developer or prospective home builder will ever want to build anywhere near a facility like this. There are other directions our town could grow, but the easiest, geographically, is to the north. With companies like Burke and Mid-States Millwright bringing several hundred jobs to Nevada in the next few years, we cannot afford to permanently close off half of our town to future expansion.

Water quality will need to be addressed. These facilities are all to our north, so any runoff or seepage will surely find its way into Nevada. Manure runoff is the concern we all think of first, but there is startling data on the runoff of antibiotics and its effects on the environment as well. It’s true there are plenty of regulations when it comes to facilities of this size, but 10,000 hogs right at our back door will not come without consequence when it comes to our water quality.

The most alarming thing I found in my research is the potential health risks for those who live near a CAFO. Cases of asthma, anxiety and depression, among others, all go up within 3 miles of a CAFO. That encompasses nearly all of Nevada.

Since these facilities would be outside of our city limits, our City Council has no power over their construction. That power lies with the DNR and our county supervisors. The supervisors have a public hearing scheduled for Dec. 11 at 10 a.m. I encourage you to contact all of them, as well as your City Councilors, and have your voice heard.

Luke Spence

Nevada Councilman