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Lee County Considers Master Matrix

Dec 8, 2012

Lee County could gain more control over certain agriculture operations.

Lee County Board of Supervisors

The county has formed a committee to look into the pros/cons of adopting the Iowa Department of Natural ResourcesMaster Matrix.

DNR Animal Feeding Operation Coordinator Gene Tinker says the Master Matrix is a scoring system for the permits required to build a confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) with at least one-thousand animals.

He says this is on top of the minimum environmental standards set forward by the state.

“There are a total of 880 points that are eligible in the Master Matrix,” says Tinker.  “An applicant needs to select a combination of entities that would total a score of 440 points to be a passing score.”

Points are awarded based on how far a CAFO is built from a water source, a school or a park, for example. 

Projects scoring enough points would then go on to the DNR for final approval.

Tinker says a county could designate a committee or board, other than the Board of Supervisors, to oversee the Master Matrix.

He says projects in counties that have not adopted the scoring system must only meet minimum standards with no additional stipulations.

Lee County has not adopted the scoring system since its introduction about ten years ago.

The supervisors have said they did not want to get involved in the process because they do not have the final say in whether a project proceeds.

11 of Iowa’s 99 counties failed to adopt the Master Matrix last year.  The decision must be made during the month of January.