An Iowa county's health ordinance has been ruled “void and unenforceable,” says Eldon McAfee, an attorney for a group of livestock producers contesting the law.

On July 9, 2001, the Worth County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance regulating confinement livestock operations for air emission standards, indoor air quality standards and water quality. The board argued it was a health ordinance, not a livestock regulation.

But on Feb. 24, 2003, the Worth County District Court agreed with the livestock producers that the county ordinance in fact regulates livestock production that is under state jurisdiction.

McAfee points out that the district court ruling has no legal precedent outside of Worth County. There are several other county laws restricting livestock production in Iowa.

“However, as a practical matter, this court's legal analysis and rationale are broad enough to apply to other Iowa county ordinances attempting to regulate livestock production or prohibit new construction (moratoriums),” he explains.