Days after naming a high-profile champion of factory-style animal farms as co-chair of "Rural Americans for Hillary," Hillary Clinton backtracked a little yesterday. She expressed wan and tepid concern about the environmental and social effects of concentrated-animal feedlot operations (CAFOs).

She told the Des Moines Register she would support "local control" over how CAFOs are regulated — meaning that states and counties would be able to institute regulations more stringent than federal guidelines.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“This is an issue I care deeply about,” she declared — although it was her first pronouncement on the issue this campaign season.

But it’s a hot topic in Iowa, the nation’s leading hog-producing state and home to some 2000 CAFOs. The Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, a group fighting the CAFOization of the state, has been campaigning for what’s known as "local control," the right of counties to impose their own regulations on CAFOs, since state code is notoriously lax.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

In my trip to Iowa last summer, ICCI people told me that a solid majority of Iowans support local control, but that it always gets shot down in the state legislature, whose members are traditionally lavished with cash by the meat industry.

I wonder what Joy Philippi, co-chair of "Rural Americans for Hillary" and former president of the National Pork Producers Coalition, thinks about Hillary’s remarks. Philippi hasn’t publicly commented, but the Iowa branch of the NPPC is none too pleased.

The Des Moines Register reports the group’s reaction as follows:

Eldon McAfee, a lawyer for the Iowa Pork Producers Association, said control over construction of large-scale operations is a state issue, not a federal issue. “When you have such emotional issues like this, it’s just not viable to make those decisions at the local level,” he said.