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Iowa Senate approves new rules on downsizing farms

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has approved a bill that would make it easier for livestock producers to downsize, drawing criticism from environmentalists who say the measure could mean those farms would avoid environmental oversight.

In a 43-6 vote on Wednesday, the Senate approved legislation that would allow some livestock producers to close barns and be reclassified as small operations. Then they would no longer need to file plans for manure disposal with the state.

Sen. Joe Seng, a Democrat from Davenport, says the bill will help farmers who want to temporarily shutter some operations. Seng amended the legislation to require producers who want to store manure in idled barns to seek permission.

A version of this bill received House approval. The amended bill will return to the House for review.

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