Iowa’s Mighty Earth chapter holds press conference near Tyson

Kiley Wellendorf - Staff
On Thursday, Nov. 30, Iowa’s Chapter of “Mighty Earth” held “Clean It Up, Tyson,” a morning conference discussing water pollution and the Tyson industry. Pictured: Elise Peterson-Trujillo, Campaign Organizer of the Iowa Chapter. PHOTO BY KILEY WELLENDORF/THE PERRY CHIEF

Mighty Earth’s Iowa Chapter held “Clean It Up,Tyson,” an intimate press conference across the street from Tyson Foods in Perry on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 10 a.m. The organization spoke on their desire to reach Tyson’s CEO by addressing alleged water pollution stemming from the supply chain.

According to Mighty Earth Campaign Organizer, Elise Peterson-Trujillo, multiple press conferences from Mighty Earth will be held across the country, the largest taking place in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The global-wide organization wants to protect the environment.

“I am our field organizer in Iowa and I was placed here in Iowa because people are most affected by this water pollution here, and the seven cities that we’ve been working on with this Tyson campaign all have something connected to water quality and sustainable food issues, so we’ve been working in Chicago, which is a secondary headquarters for Tyson, here, Kansas City, Omaha, New Orleans, and then Fayetteville, Arkansas.”

According to a press release provided by Peterson-Trujillo, the campaign “calls for Tyson’s CEO to commit to sourcing animal feed from supplies that practice sustainable and regenerative methods, such as cover cropping, using less fertilizer, diversifying crops, limiting tillage, and stopping the clearing of native ecosystems such as the iconic American prairie.”

This is the first plant in Iowa the organization has held a press conference in front of.

“This is the closest one to Des Moines, but it’s one of the six that affect Iowa waterways throughout the state,” Peterson-Trujillo said.

After the press conference, the Iowa Chapter delivered a box of more than 1,000 petitions calling for a change. According to Peterson-Trujillo, volunteers petitioned in both the Dubuque and Des Moines area to gather signatures.

“This is the stop to drop off the petitions, so we would love to talk to folks of those facilities as well, but it’s out of our capacity, but we hope that our delivery here can send a message from Iowans that are signing the petitions to Tyson here in Iowa and across the country that Iowans want change and Tyson can be a leader on this issue for water quality.”

Following the press conference, Perry’s Tyson provided a response about the event:

“We’re committed to doing our part to address concerns about pollution from crops, but believe any real progress must involve a broad coalition of interests, not just a single company.

Tyson Foods has made significant progress over the years using grain more efficiently in our chicken business. We will continue to talk to farmers, academic experts, government regulators and environmental groups about additional improvements in how grain is produced and used.

This group is making misleading claims about our company. For example, their focus is pollution from crop production, but they overlook the many ways crops are used including human consumption, bio-fuel (ethanol) and exports.”