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Master Matrix Works

August 18, 2017
Tama County Farm Bureau , Traer Star-Clipper

From its inception, the Master Matrix was designed to, and continues to, set a higher standard for barns housing livestock indoors throughout Iowa. When a family farm wants to build a new barn, it is evaluated across three subcategories: air, water and community. Farmers earn points across these categories by choosing site locations and implementing practices that reduce or eliminate negative impacts. While some have voiced concern over the current requirement of "only half of the points" to pass the matrix, it's important to remember that these points are over and above the legal requirements and minimums and "half the points" doesn't mean you're following only half of the law.

After a farmer commits to building the best site possible, the local community is involved in the final decision via the local Board of Supervisors, DNR and a public hearing where we can help address the concerns of the community. Raising our families in this county, it's important to us to be good neighbors, and we appreciate the support and faith our local representatives and community members put in us to do right by them.

One of our members, having grown up in a predominately urban area along the East Coast, was amazed the first time they toured a livestock barn. The design and engineering was designed specifically to reduce environmental impacts; manure pits eliminated the possibility for leakage and there were odor-reducing filter systems, windbreaks, etc.

Changes to the Master Matrix are concerning because these changes are really designed to slow or reverse livestock production in Iowa. That would have a negative impact on our local community, reducing both revenue and jobs. According to the 2012 census, Tama County's livestock contributed over $76 million and is still growing. We want to continue to see our towns grow with new families, new storefronts and more opportunities for off-farm jobs related to agriculture such as banking, driving trucks, working at the local coop or feed store.

The Master Matrix works, and as farmers in Tama County, we want our neighbors to sleep well at night knowing we have done more than what is required not only to make the Iowa livestock industry even better, but also because we care about our county's natural resources and people.



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