Executive Director, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement; professional activist and organizerA lifelong professional activist, Hugh Espey has worked for Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (ICCI) for twenty-six years, serving as its executive director since March of 2003. Previously the rural projects director, Espey’s stock at ICCI rose as the organization shifted its focus from protecting the poor against predatory creditors to fighting the production techniques and capital that enable most Iowa farmers to stay in business.
Espey is quite explicit in his desire to drive modern agriculture out of Iowa, what he called “the corporate, industrial operations that take wealth out of the community” in a fawning October 19, 2004 Des Moines Register interview. In a November 1998 United Methodist Board of Global Ministries news story about large hog facilities, Mary Beth Coudal wrote: “‘[Y]ou have fewer people producing more hogs,’ Hugh [Espey] says. The Iowa CCI would rather see more people producing fewer hogs.”
When asked by the Register if he had ever toured a modern hog confinement, Espey replied: “Inside? No. I’ve seen videos, and talked to folks who have worked in them. I’ve driven by them.”