The Iowa DNR says every county in NE Iowa and all but 10 counties statewide have signed master matrix agreements with the agency for 2019.
The master matrix applies to farmers wanting to build confinement buildings at least 2,500 finishing hogs, 1,000 beef cattle or 715 mature dairy cows.
The master matrix system has come under considerable criticism, including from several members of the Winneshiek County Board. Local elected officials complain the system takes regulation of confinement operations out of the hands of local board, centralizing all decisions in Des Moines.
However, counties which sign an agreement with the Iowa DNR can score each master matrix application submitted in their county and can recommend to DNR to approve or deny the construction permit. They can also join in DNR visits to a proposed confinement site. Counties that adopt the master matrix can also appeal a preliminary permit to the state Environmental Protection Commission, although such appeals are usually not successful.
Find more information, including a map of participating counties, by searching for Master Matrix at www.iowadnr.gov/