DUBUQUE, Iowa – North Carolina Sen. John Edwards (search) was briefly diverted from touting his economic plan Sunday by an Iowa farmer critical of his agriculture policies.
Jerry Burger, a fourth generation family farmer, stopped the Democratic presidential candidate as he crossed the street Sunday in Waukee and engaged him in a spirited argument. The town of 5,126 is near West Des Moines, one of Iowa's fastest growing cities.
"This is some of the best land in the world and it's getting bulldozed and turned into malls and all kinds of development," Burger said. "All you want is more regulations on livestock production and farm production. Farmers leave faster the more rules you make."
Edwards, who had just delivered a speech focusing on his economic policies in the town square, told Burger he was wrong.
"We're actually working very hard to protect farmland," he said. "I've worked hard with our farmers in North Carolina to make sure that they stay in business. They're a huge part of what I've done in the United States Senate (search)."
Edwards introduced environmental initiatives (search) last week calling for limits on air and water pollution from confinement feeding operations and tightening regulations on spraying the waste as fertilizer.
Burger, who raises hogs and crops on a 2,000 acres near Waukee, said Edwards was as "far left as you can get" on the environment.
Edwards turned and walked away after it was apparent he wasn't swaying Burger's opinions.